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By   A.    W.    CLAPHAM,    F.S.A. 

The  architecture  and  conventual  arrangement  of  the 
houses  of  the  various  orders  of  friars  in  this  country  is  a 
subject  but  little  touched  upon  in  archaeological  literature, 
a  fact  to  be  directly  attributed  to  the  exceedingly  scanty 
and  fragmentary  nature  of  the  remains  which  have  survived 
to  modern  times.  It  will  consequently  be  necessary  to 
prefix  to  an  account  of  the  structure  of  the  Welsh  houses  of 
the  four  orders,  some  observations  on  the  peculiarities  of 
plan  and  arrangement  which  distinguish  the  buildings  of 
these  orders.  To  do  so  it  will  be  necessary  to  go  farther 
afield  than  Wales  and  to  base  one's  conclusions  on  a  study 
of  the  buildings  of  the  mendicant  orders  throughout  the 
British  Isles.  It  is  a  curious  fact  that  the  marked  peculi- 
arities observable  in  the  friars'  churches  in  this  country 
are  not  in  any  way,  as  in  some  of  the  older  orders,  traceable 
to  a  continental  original.  The  Dominicans  in  France, l 
the  mendicant  orders  in  general  in  Brittany,2  and  the 
Dominicans  and  Franciscans  in  central  Italy,3  evolved 
highly  distinctive  types  of  plans,  but  in  no  case  does 
this  bear  any  resemblance  to  the  typical  friars'  church  in 
England,  and  one  is  forced  to  the  conclusion  that  the 
building,  whose  salient  features  are  about  to  be  described, 
was  evolved  independently  within  these  islands. 

The  friars'  church  in  the  British  Islands  consisted  of 
two  main  parts,  the  quire,  forming  the  private  chapel  of 
the  friars  and  the  nave,  forming  their  public  preaching- 
place.  These  fundamentals  produced  a  plan  very  closely 
approximating  both  in  form  and  use  to  the  ordinary  parish 
church.  Two  marked  differences,  however,  are  noticeable, 
which  seldom,  if  ever,  appear  in  this  country,  outside  the 

1  For    typical    examples    see     plans    in  2  For    a    typical    example    see    plan    in 

Viollet  le  Due  Dictionaire  i,  p.  272  (Jacobins,  Congr^s   Arch,  de  Frante    1914.    (Jacobins, 

Paris),  and  i,  p.  299  (Jacobins,  Toulouse)  and  M orlaix). 

P.  Lauzun  Lei  Couvents  dAgen  (Jacobins,  *  K.  Biebr.ich,  Holz°rdffkifn  Franciskaner 

Agen).  u.  Domin.  Kircben  in  Umbricn  u.  Toskaita. 


1517,  14  Aug.     THOMAS  MAGNUS. 

There  is  an  immense  amount  of  material  for  the  life  of  this  busy  man  of 
affairs  (see  article  in  D.N.B.  by  W.  A.  J.  Archbold),  whose  active  career 
began  in  the  reign  of  Henry  VII,  and  extended  over  half  a  century.  We 
can  note  here  only  his  ecclesiastical  preferments.  He  was  a  native  of  Newark- 
on-Trent,  where  the  local  grammar  school  keeps  his  name  alive,  and  his  first 
benefices  were  obtained  in  his  native  diocese  of  York.  On  2  Oct.  1497  he 
was  instituted  to  the  church  of  Sessay  in  the  North  Riding  (York  Reg. 
Rotherham,  i),  and  on  16  Nov.  1498,  to  that  of  South  Collingham,  near 
Newark  (ibid,  i,  f.  184).  Of  these  churches,  in  the  gift  respectively  of  the 
abbots  and  convents  of  St.  Mary's,  York,  and  Peterborough,  he  kept  Sessay 
throughout  his  life,  but  resigned  South  Collingham  within  a  few  years. 
Archbishop  Savage,  who  succeeded  Rotherham  at  York  in  1501,  promoted 
Magnus  to  several  important  benefices.  He  became  warden  or  master  of 
the  college  of  Sibthorpe,  Notts.,  13  Feb.  1502-3.  On  28  Sept.  1503  he 
had  collation  of  the  prebend  of  St.  Stephen's  altar  at  Beverley,  but  resigned 
this  on  his  appointment  as  archdeacon  of  the  East  Riding,  12  June  1504, 
in  addition  to  which,  on  17  Nov.  1504,  he  received  the  office  of  sacrist  of 
the  chapel  of  St.  Mary  and  the  Holy  Angels  at  York  (York  Reg.  Savage, 
ff.  71,  etc.)  On  17  April  1508,  he  was  instituted  to  the  church  of  Kirkby 
in  Cleveland  (York  Reg.  Bainbridge),  and  obtained  the  valuable  living  of 
Bedale  before  12  June  1509  (L.  &  P,  H.  Fill,  i,  p.  438).  During  this  period, 
he  was  much  occupied  with  public  business  in  the  north,  and  served  on 
commissions  of  the  peace  for  the  three  Ridings,  the  liberties  of  Beverley  and 
Ripon,  and  Northumberland  (Cal.  Pat.  Rolls,  1494-1509,  pp.  653,  etc.). 
With  the  reign  of  Henry  VIII  and  the  ministry  of  Wolsey,  he  was  employed 
constantly,  as  a  member  of  the  privy  council,  on  affairs  of  state.  In  1520 
he  received  a  canonry  of  Windsor  (Le  Neve  iii,  392),  and  obtained  the 
prebend  of  North  Kelsey  in  Lincoln,  7  May  1521,  which  he  quitted  on 
25  March  1523,  for  that  of  Corringham  in  the  same  church  (ibid,  ii,  198, 
135).  Further,  to  the  rich  preferment  of  the  mastership  of  St.  Leonard's 
hospital  at  York  he  added  the  vicarage  of  Kendal,  at  that  time  one  of  the 
wealthiest  benefices  in  England.  In  addition  to  his  archdeaconry,  three 
rectories  and  one  vicarage,  his  canonries  of  Lincoln  and  Windsor,  his  deanery 
of  Bridgnorth,  his  sacristship  and  hospitnl  at  York,  and  his  college  in 
Nottinghamshire,  his  formidable  list  of  benefices  in  the  V alor  Ecelesiasticus 
of  1534-5  includes  the  small  prebend  of  Llanbadarn  Odwyn  in  the  church 
of  Llanddewi  Brefi  and  the  rectory  of  the  free  chapel  of  Whipstrode,  Hants. 
With  the  gradual  surrender  and  ultimate  suppression  of  colleges  and  chan- 
tries, he  lost  several  of  these,  and  resigned  his  canonries  in  Lincoln  and 
Windsor.  He  kept  his  archdeaconry  and  parish  churches,  however,  till  his 
death  on  27  Aug.  1550  (see  York  Reg.Holgate,  f.  40  d.}.  He  was  buried,  after 
an  incumbency  of  fifty-three  years,  in  the  church  of  Sessay,  where  his  brass 
js  preserved  within  the  present  modern  building. 


mendicant  orders  and  which  may  be  taken  as  characteristic 
of  their  buildings  and  theirs  alone.  The  first  of  these  is 
the  form  and  structure  of  the  steeple,  which  in  the  larger 
churches  is  placed  over  an  oblong  space  or  crossing  (generally 
termed  the  '  Walking  Place '  in  mediaeval  documents), 
interposed  between  the  quire  and  the  nave.  This  space, 
being  oblong,  the  steeple  itself  had  to  be  supported  on  two 
sides,  the  north  and  south,  by  arches  sprung  across  from  the 
side  walls  and  seldom  carried  down  to  the  ground  ;  two 
narrow  arches  opened  east  and  west  into  the  quire  and  nave. 
The  form  of  the  steeple  itself  was,  in  England,  commonly 
polygonal  but  in  Scotland  and  Ireland  invariably  square. 
In  France  the  polygonal  steeple  is  common  to  the  friars' 
houses, 1  but  it  is  invariably  set  flanking  the  church  on  one 
side  or  the  other  and  is  never  set  astride  the  building  as  in 
this  country.  In  the  smaller  houses  the  place  of  the  masonry 
steeple  was  taken  by  a  similar  erection  in  timber,  carried  on 
arched  principals,  spanning  the  church.  Masonry  towers 
of  this  character  still  survive  in  England  at  Coventry 
(Greyfriars),  King's  Lynn  (Greyfriars)  and  Atherton 
(Austin  Friars)  ;  in  Scotland  at  Dunbar  (Trinitarian  Friars) 
and  in  Ireland  at  Quinn,  Ennis,  Muckross  (Greyfriars), 
Athenry  (Blackfriars)  and  numerous  other  places.  No 
example  of  the  timber  steeple  has  survived,  but  it  seems  to 
have  existed  at  Hume2  (Whitefriars)  and  there  are  still 
existing  remains  of  the  structure  at  Denbigh  (Whitefriars). 
No  doubt  it  was  the  common  form  in  the  lesser  houses  and 
would  leave  no  trace  of  its  presence  where  the  walls  are 
destroyed  below  the  roof-level.  The  space  under  this 
crossing  was  commonly  used  in  the  larger  houses  as  the 
main  entrance  from  the  outside  into  the  cloister. 

The  second  marked  peculiarity  of  the  friars'  churches 
is  the  single  and  generally  disproportionate  transept, 
opening  out  of,  and  forming  an  annexe  to,  the  nave. 
Symmetrical  transepts  are  exceedingly  rare  in  friars'  churches 
and  in  England  and  Wales  there  was  commonly  no  transept 
of  any  sort,  but  in  nearly  all  the  Irish  houses3  and  at 

1  Cf.  Toulouse  (Black,  Grey  and  Austin  friaries  in  Reports  of  Public  Works  (Ireland), 

Friars),  Avignon  (Grey  and  Austin  Friars),  1901-1914,  including  Buttevant,  Creevelea, 

Angouleme  (Grey  Friars),  Agen  (Black  Clare-Galway,  Kilcrea,  Sherkin  Island, 

Friars),  etc.  Sligo  and  Timoleague,  also  Architectural  and 

*  Arch.  Journ.  XLVII,  105.  Topographical  Record  for  Askeaton,  Ennis, 

3  See  the  excellent  series  of  plans  of  Irish  Quinn,  etc. 


Richmond,  Yorks1  (Greyfriars),  Warrington2  (Austin 
Friars)  and  Lanfaes  (Greyfriars)  the  curious  single  transept 
was  present.  It  opened  out  of  the  nave  by  one  or  more 
arches,  commonly  had  a  chapel-aisle  on  the  east  side  and 
lay  on  the  side  of  the  church  remote  from  the  cloister. 

With  regard  to  the  conventual  buildings,  friars'  houses 
show  a  marked  disregard,  in  many  instances,  of  the  normal 
monastic  arrangement.  Thus  the  frater  stood  west  of  the 
cloister  at  London  (Greyfriars)  and  Canterbury  (Blackfriars) 
and  the  dorter  was  south  of  the  cloister  at  Denbigh,  instead 
of  the  normal  positions,  south  and  east  of  the  cloister 
respectively.  A  second  peculiarity  is  the  common  practice 
of  incorporating  one  or  more  of  the  cloister  alleys  within 
the  main  outer  walls  of  the  ranges  to  which  they  belonged, 
thus  causing  the  dorter  or  frater,  as  the  case  might  be,  on 
the  first  floor,  to  stand  partly  over  the  cloister  alley.  This 
practice  is  exemplified  in  most  of  the  surviving  friars' 
buildings  in  England  and  Ireland  and  no  doubt  was  dictated 
by  a  desire  for  economy  either  in  space  or  material. 

The  historical  aspect  of  the  various  houses  of  the 
mendicant  orders  in  Wales  has  been  clearly  and  succinctly 
dealt  with  by  Miss  R.  C.  Easterling3  in  Archaeologia 
Cambrensis,  where  she  has  effectively  disposed  of  the  various 
doubtful  houses  and  has  reduced  the  total  number  of  definite 
friaries  in  the  country  to  ten.  Valuable  evidence  as  to  the 
buildings  is  also  provided  by  the  Suppression  Inventories 
of  Bangor,  Llanvaes,  Rhuddlan,  Denbigh,  Cardiff,  Carmar- 
then and  Haverfordwest,  printed  also  in  Archaeologia 
Cambrensis. 4  These  have  been  considered  in  relation  to  the 
existing  remains,  together  with  results  of  excavation  and  it 
is  hoped  that  the  present  paper  may  in  some  sense  complete 
the  survey  of  the  Welsh  friaries  which  the  foregoing 
contributions  have  so  ably  begun. 

The  Welsh  friaries  included  five  Dominican  houses — 
Bangor,  Brecon,  Cardiff,  Haverfordwest  and  Rhuddlan ; 
three  .  Franciscan  houses — Cardiff,  Carmarthen  and 
Llanfaes  ;  one  Carmelite  house — Denbigh,  and  one  house 
of  Austin  Friars — Newport.  In  this  order  is  it  proposed 
to  deal  with  the  remains. 

1  See   plan   in   Victoria   C.  Hist.    Torks.  :I  Arch.  Camb.  6th  Ser.,  xiv,  pp.  323-356. 

AT.  Riding  i,  31.  The  Friars  in  Wales. 

^  See  plan   in    Victoria   C.    Hilt.   Lane;. 



Little  need  be  said  of  this  establishment,  which  seems 
to  date  from  the  middle  of  the  thirteenth  century — it  is 
first  mentioned  in  1 25 1 . l  The  remains,  noted  and  described 
by  Mr.  H.  Hughes  and  Mr.  P.  S.  Gregory,2  probably 


1898  - 


[By  tourtay  o'  the  Cam.  Ar^b.  Lo:- 

belonged  to  this  house,  though  some  little  doubt  has  arisen 
as  to  the  existence  of  a  second  house  of  friars  at  Bangor. 
The  remains  seemed  to  indicate  a  small  establishment  with 
a  cloister  62  feet  from  east  to  west,  and  lying  on  the 

1  Ibid.  6th  Ser.,  xiv,  p.  333,  citing  Close  Roll  35  Hen.  iii,  m.  20. 
*  Ibid,  sth  Ser.,  xvii,  p.  24  et  seq. 


north  side  of  the  church.  Of  the  church  itself  there  were 
remains  of  an  aisleless  building  (26  feet  wide),  probably 
the  quire,  with  traces  of  the  start  of  a  wider  building, 
probably  the  nave,  to  the  west.  Walls  found  to  the  east 
of  the  eastern  range  served  to  indicate  that  a  chapter-house 
projected  in  this  direction,  as  two  carved  stone  coffin-lids 
were  found  within  its  area.  Two  other  carved  coffin-lids 
were  also  discovered,  one  with  a  curious  heraldic  cheeky 
design,  with  the  silver  indicated  by  lead  run  into  the 
alternate  squares. 


The  Black  Friars'  house  at  Brecon  was  founded  about 
the  middle  of  the  thirteenth  century  and  is  first  mentioned 
as  existing  in  1269. 1  Its  remains  are  the  most  extensive 
and  important  of  all  the  Welsh  friaries,  their  partial 
preservation  being  due  to  the  founding  or  refounding  of  a 
school  there  by  Henry  VIII.  The  remains  consist  of  the 
quire  of  the  church,  dedicated  to  St.  Nicholas,  still  intact 
and  in  continuous  use  as  the  chapel  of  the  college  since  the 
dissolution — the  ruins  of  the  nave,  with  a  north  aisle — 
some  indications  of  the  position  of  the  cloister,  dorter  and 
sacristy — and  a  detached  group  of  buildings  to  the  south, 
the  purpose  of  which  will  be  discussed  later. 

The  Quire  (65  feet  by  26  feet)  is  a  mid-thirteenth- 
century  building,  with  a  large  east  window  (plate  ii), 
consisting  of  five  lancet-lights  of  unequal  width,  and  all 
incorporated  under  a  two-centred  outer  order  or  head. 
The  north  wall  has  a  series  of  eleven  lancet  windows 
(plate  i),  divided  by  attached  shafts  with  moulded  capitals 
and  bases  and  having  moulded  rear-arches ;  below  the 
third  window  from  the  east  end  is  a  recess  in  the  wall  with 
a  moulded  segmental-pointed  arch,  probably  the  founder's 
tomb.  The  eastern  part  of  the  south  wall  has  four  lancet 
windows  uniform  with  those  opposite  ;  below  them  and 
set  in  a  projection  are  the  double  piscina  and  scdilia  of  four 
bays  (plate  ii).  At  the  back  of  the  piscina  and  in  the 
westernmost  bay  of  the  sedilia  are  squints,  now  blocked, 
but  formerly  communicating  with  the  sacristy,  which 
was  entered  by  a  doorway  further  west  and  now  also 

1  Ibid.  6th  Ser.,  xiv,  p.  337,  Provincial  Visitation  in  1269. 




to       f        o  to  fo  jo 


blocked.  The  quire  is  closed  at  the  west  end  by  an  inserted 
cross-wall  of  the  fourteenth  century,  pierced  by  a  two- 
centred  archway  of  two  orders.  This  wall  was  no  doubt 
inserted  to  support  either  a  bell-tower  or  a  bell-cote, 
replacing  the  original  structure  which  was  probably  of 

The  Nave  (95^  feet  by  26  feet)  is  now  roofless  and  stands 
only  some  12  feet  high.  The  whole  structure  appears  to 
have  been  rebuilt  and  perhaps  extended  in  the  fourteenth 
century.  The  north  wall  had  an  arcade,  opening  into  the 
aisle,  and  probably  of  five  bays,  of  which  only  the  lower 
parts  of  the  east  and  west  responds  now  remain  ;  east  of 
the  arcade  is  a  pointed  doorway,  opening  into  the  north 
chapel.  The  south  wall  has,  at  the  east  end,  traces  of  the 
blocked  doorway  from  the  cloister  ;  further  west  is  a  second 
doorway,  of  fourteenth-century  material,  but  probably  not 
in  situ.  Of  the  two  other  doorways  in  the  western  part  of 
this  wall,  the  eastern  is  modern  but  the  second  is  of  the 
fourteenth  century  and  is  valuable  as  giving  some  indication 
of  the  western  extent  of  the  cloister.  Intruding  into  the 
south-west  angle  of  the  church  is  a  rounded  projection  of 
post-reformation  date.  In  the  west  wall  of  the  nave  the 
bases  of  the  splays  of  a  large  west  window  still  remain. 
Across  the  east  end  of  the  nave  is  a  modern  wall,  enclosing 
the  existing  vestibule,  which  may  represent  an  ancient 
feature,  which  together  with  the  west  wall  of  the  quire 
perhaps  supported  a  steeple. 

The  North  Aisle  (12^  feet  wide)  has  a  chapel  at  the  east 
end,  which  is  still  in  use.  It  has  much  restored  windows  in 
the  east  and  north  walls  and  a  double  piscina  in  the  south 
wall.  The  chapel  is  closed  in  on  the  west  by  a  modern  wall. 
West  of  this  chapel  only  a  short  length  of  fourteenth-century 
walling  survives,  with  the  splay  of  one  window  ;  beyond 
this  point  the  wall  is  a  reconstruction  of  uncertain  date, 
incorporating,  towards  its  western  end,  a  reset  fourteenth- 
century  archway. 

The  Cloister  has  been  entirely  destroyed,  but  the 
weathering  of  its  former  roof  is  visible  on  the  south  wall  of 
the  nave,  extending  from  a  modern  buttress  on  the  east 
to  the  modern  school-building  on  the  west.  If  the  doorway, 
referred  to  above,  be  considered  as  representing  its  western 
limit  it  must  have  been  some  71  feet  from  east  to  west. 


The  range,  flanking  the  cloister  on  the  east,  contained  the 
Dorter  on  the  first  floor,  as  there  is  in  the  south  wall  of  the 
quire,  at  this  point,  a  fifteenth-century  doorway,  now 
blocked,  which  can  only  have  served  for  the  night-stairs 
from  the  dorter.  The  position  of  the  Sacristy  is  indicated 
by  the  blocked  doorway  from  the  quire,  already  referred  to, 
and  by  three  corbels  of  its  former  roof,  which  still  remain 
above  this  doorway.  It  possessed  also  an  eastern  extension, 
kept  low  to  avoid  the  windows  of  the  quire,  and  into  which 
opened  the  two  squints  already  described.  There  are, 
however,  no  traces  of  the  junctions  of  the  walls  of  these 
buildings  and  only  excavation  can  determine  their  precise 

It  now  remains  to  consider  the  detached  group  of 
buildings,  standing  170  feet  to  the  south  of  the  nave  of 
the  church.  The  group  consists  of  two  halls  set  at  right 
angles  to  one  another,  one  terminating  eastwards  in  a 
three-sided  apse,  and  a  smaller  range  extending  to  the 
south.  The  whole  group  is  of  the  fourteenth  century  and 
though  the  windows  are  almost  entirely  modern  and  most 
of  the  doorways  are  much  restored,  it  seems  to  retain  its 
original  features,  otherwise,  largely  unaltered.  Both  halls 
have  large  fireplaces  and  retain  much  of  their  original 
roof-construction ;  the  roof  over  the  eastern  hall  has 
curved  principals  meeting  under  the  collars.  The  roof  of 
the  western  hall  is  of  more  ornate  character  but  of  similar 
construction  ;  the  principals  are  trefoiled  on  the  under 
side,  as  are  the  curved  wind-braces.  The  twro  stone  fire- 
places have  heavy  hoods,  resting  on  corbelled  projections, 
and  though  extensively  restored,  are  still,  in  part,  of  the 
fourteenth  century.  The  wing  to  the  south,  though 
contemporary  with  the  rest,  has  no  features  of  interest. 
It  is  very  difficult  to  come  to  any  definite  conclusion  as  to 
the  purpose  of  this  very  singular  block  of  buildings.  Three 
explanations  may  be  suggested  but  it  is  not  pretended 
that  each  of  them  is  not  open  to  serious  objections.  They 
are — (a)  a  combined  guest-house  and  infirmary  ;  (b)  a 
provincial's  -  lodging ;  (c)  the  earliest  buildings  of  the 
grammar-school.  The  first  of  these  is  perhaps  the  most 
probable.  The  hall  to  the  west  would  serve  as  the  guest- 
hall  ;  it  was  formerly  entirely  cut  off  from  the  eastern  hall, 
the  existing  doorway  in  the  party-wall  being  modern.  The 

To  face  page  94. 



Windows  in  N.  wall  of  Chancel 


To  face  page  95. 


Chancel,  looking  N.E. 


Piscinae  and  Sedilia  in  S   wall 


eastern  hall  would  serve  as  the  infirmary,  the  body  forming 
the  hall  of  the  sick  and  the  apsidal  end  as  the  chapel  ;  on 
this  hypothesis  the  two  parts  must  have  been  separated  by 
a  wooden  screen,  after  the  fashion  prevalent  in  many 
mediaeval  hospitals.  It  should,  however,  be  said  that  there 
is  no  existing  evidence,  such  as  a  piscina,  that  the  apsidal 
end  contained  an  altar.  A  provincial's  lodging  was  provided 
for  in  certain  of  the  greater  houses  of  friars,  such  as  the 
Black  Friars,  London, 1  but  the  existence  of  such  a  structure 
at  Brecon  is  unlikely  and  in  any  case  provides  no  explanation 
of  the  two  halls  side  by  side.  The  school-building  theory 
is  a  suggestion  only  ;  practically  nothing  is  known  of  such 
structures,  in  the  middle  ages,  so  it  will  be  profitless  to 
pursue  the  subject. 


The  house  of  the  Black  Friars  of  Cardiff  was  founded 
before  the  year  1269, 2  on  a  site  without  the  west  gate  of 
the  town.  Though  nothing  was  standing  above  ground  its 
remains  were  completely  excavated  by  the  late  Marquis  of 
Bute  in  i887,3  and  are  still  exposed  to  view.  The  rubble 
walling  has  been  brought  to  a  general  level  in  brick  and  the 
floor-surfaces  of  the  church  repaved.  There  is  little  to 
indicate  the  date  of  the  various  structures,  though  the  church 
appears  to  have  been  shortened  after  its  destruction  in  1414, 
the  nave  being  then  reduced  to  80  feet  in  length.  The  few 
fragments  of  mouldings  and  window  tracery,  found  on  the 
spot,  date  mainly  from  the  first  half  of  the  fourteenth 
century  and  do  not  reflect  the  rebuilding  of  the  church 
after  its  burning  by  Owen  Glendower  in  1404.  The  dis- 
position of  the  buildings  is  sufficiently  explained  by  the 
accompanying  plan  and  little  further  need  be  said  save  to 
call  attention  to  the  small  but  interesting  infirmary  block, 
on  the  north  of  the  site.  This,  with  the  exception  of  the 
small  establishments  at  Hume4  by  Alnwick  (Northumber- 
land) and  Clare  (Suffolk),-  is  the  only  friars'  infirmary  that 
can  be  certainly  identified  in  this  country. 

1  Arc baeologia  Ixiii,  p.  71.  Scr.,  vi,  97  and  C.  B.   Fowler,  Excavations 

1  Arcb.    Camb.    6th    Ser.,  xiv.,  p.  337.       on  the  site  of  the  Black  Friars'  Monastery, 

Provincial  Visitation  in  1269.  1897- 

»J.    P.     Conway    in    Arcb,     Camb.  5th            3  Aicb.  Jo-,™.,  XLVII,  105. 


The  suppression  inventory1  of  this  house  mentions  the 
vestry,  high  altar,  Lady  altar,  a  pair  of  organs  and  the 


The  date  of  the  settlement  of  the  Black  Friars  at 
Haverfordwest  is  unknown,  but  they  were  established  there 
in  12462  and  according  to  Leland  the  site  was  changed 
in  1256.  The  buildings  stood  on  the  east  side  of  Bridge 
Street,  between  it  and  the  river,  on  the  site  now  occupied 
by  the  Black  Horse  Inn,  a  foundry  and  other  premises. 
These  buildings  are  mainly  constructed  of  rubble,  but 
there  is  no  recognisable  fragment  of  pre-Reformation  work, 
now  visible,  though  lead  coffins  and  a  stone  coffin  are  said 
to  have  been  found  on  the  site.  A  letter  from  Edmund 
Yardley  to  Browne  Willis,  about  I7393  says  that  there  were 
then  little  or  no  remains,  but  that  two  effigies  had  been 
dug  up. 

The  inventory  of  goods,4  taken  at  the  dissolution 
mentions  the  '  candllbemys '  and  a  table  of  alabaster  as 
they  stood  in  the  church  and  in  the  quire,  a  table  at  the 
high  altar,  the  new  stalls,  the  hall  and  two  bells  in  the 


The  Black  Friars  were  established  at  Rhuddlan  some- 
where about  the  middle  of  the  thirteenth  century5  and 
must  have  begun  their  buildings  soon  afterwards.  The 
outbuildings  of  the  existing  farm,  called  Plas  newydd, 
surround  a  square  yard  which  no  doubt  represents,  to  some 
extent,  the  cloister.  No  trace  is  left  of  the  church  or  of 
the  eastern  range,  the  site  of  which  is  occupied  by  a  modern 
building,  but  the  whole  of  this  range  was  standing  when  the 
brothers  Buck  made  their  drawing  (plate  iii)  in  ij^2.6  This 
drawing  is  particularly  valuable,  as  it  shows  not  only  some 
highly  interesting  details  but  also  indicates  that  the  buildings 
at  Rhuddlan  were  on  a  much  more  ambitious  scale  that  was 

1  Arc b.  Camb.  Orig.  Documents,  p.  xxxvii.  *  Arc b.  Camb.  Orig.  Documents,  p.  xli. 

2  Ibid.   6th    Ser.,   xiv.,  citing   Lib.  Rolls 

Hen   jjj  •  Arcb.  Camb.  6th  Ser.,  xiv,  334. 

3  Printed  in  Arcb.  Camb.  5th  Ser.,  xvii.,  •  See  Flintshire  Hist.  Soc.  Journ.  \. 
p.  69. 






To  face  page  97. 


usual  among  the  lesser  friaries.  The  whole  length  of  the 
building  shown  was  no  doubt  occupied  by  the  dorter  on 
the  first  floor  and  at  its  north  end  is  some  indication  of  the 
junction  with  the  church,  though  even  then  this  building 
had  been  entirely  destroyed.  Projecting  eastwards  from 
the  range  .is  a  gabled  structure,  with  three  lancet-windows 
in  the  east  end  and  three  in  the  south  return  wall  ;  this 
was  undoubtedly  the  chapter-house  with  a  room  above  it. 
Further  south,  in  the  main  range,  is  the  archway  of  a  passage 
from  the  cloister,  and  still  further  south  a  chimney-stack, 
probably  that  of  the  fireplace  in  the  warming-house. 
At  the  south  end  of  the  range  is  a  large  doorway,  at  the 
dorter-level,  evidently  that  leading  to  the  rere-dorter,  the 
ruins  of  which,  with  its  connecting  bridge,  are  also  shown. 
Of  the  southern  range  of  the  cloister  court,  the  eastern  part 
of  the  inner  or  north  wall  is  still  standing  and  contains  four 
small  square-headed  windows  of  red  Chester  stone,  set  high 
in  the  wall,  above  a  string-course  which  probably  marked 
the  level  of  the  cloister-roof.  The  rest  of  the  range  seems 
to  have  been  rebuilt,  but  the  south  side  of  it  is  shown  in 
steep  perspective  in  Buck's  view.  The  only  other  ancient 
portion  of  the  existing  buildings  is  the  northern  portion  of 
the  outer  wall  of  an  outbuilding  on  the  west  of  the  yard. 
It  appears  to  have  projected  westward  from  the  original 
western  range,  as  there  is  a  return  angle  at  the  south  end. 
It  contains  two  pointed  windows,  probably  of  the  fourteenth 
century,  and  blocked  with  ashlar.  The  rest  of  this  range 
contains  other  pointed  windows,  but  they  appear  not  to  be 
original  and  the  walls  themselves  to  be  of  post-suppression 

Built  into  the  garden-wall,  to  the  north  of  the  yard, 
are  portions  of  a  moulded  and  cusped  arch  of  early 
fourteenth-century  date  and  probably  part  of  a  tomb- 
recess.  Of  the  various  funeral  monuments  built  into  the 
walls  of  the  buildings  round  the  yard,  it  will  only  be 
necessary  to  give  a  list  as  they  have  mostly  been  already 
described  and  photographed.  On  the  east  side  of  the  yard  : 

(a)  effigy  in  high  relief  of  a  civilian  in  hood  with  flap,  belt 
with  skirt  of  gown  tucked  into  it  and  holding  in  both  hands 
a  baton,  or  possibly  a  mace,  probably  fourteenth-century ; 

(b)  part  of  a  coffin-lid  with  inscription. 

On  south  side  of  yard  :  (a)  incised  slab  with  figure  of  an 


archbishop1  in  mass- vestments  with  cross-staff  and  marginal 
inscription  to  William  Freney,  archbishop  of  Rages,  c.  1290. 
This  slab  has  now  been  removed  to  the  parish  church  ; 
(b)  slab  with  raguly  cross  in  relief,  head  in  a  quatrefoil, 
sword  at  side  and  inscription  to  Robert,  son  of  Robert  de 
Bridelton,  early  fourteenth-century. 

On  west  side  of  yard  :  coffin-lid  with  elaborately 
enriched  cross  on  stem  inscribed  '  Hie  jacet  Snaisii,'  the 
rest  of  the  inscription  destroyed,  thirteenth-century. 

The  inventory  of  goods  taken  at  the  suppression2 
mentions  the  quire  with  a  table  of  alabaster  on  the  altar 
and  new  stalls,  two  bells  in  the  steeple  and  the  kitchen. 


The  date  of  the  foundation  of  the  Grey  Friars  at 
Cardiff  is  uncertain,  but  the  remains  uncovered  carry  it 
back,  at  any  rate  to  the  end  of  the  thirteenth  century. 
The  house  is  first  mentioned  in  I399-3  The  remains, 
like  those  of  the  Black  Friars'  house,  were  excavated  in  1896 
by  the  late  Marquis  of  Bute4  and  the  walls  and  flooring  of 
the  church  treated  in  the  same  manner  as  at  the  sister  house. 
Further  excavations  were  carried  out  in  1925  by  Mr.  J.  P. 
Grant,  F.S.A.,  who  has,  very  generously,  placed  his  notes 
and  plans  at  my  disposal.  The  accompanying  plan  is  based 
on  that  of  Mr.  Grant  and  shows  the  walls  uncovered  in 
these  excavations.  The  lighting  area  interposed  between 
the  cloister  and  the  nave  and  shown  on  the  earlier  plans 
(Arch.  Camb.  6th  Ser.  i,  72)  does  not  appear  to  be  sub- 
stantiated by  the  latest  excavations.  This,  however,  was  a 
not  uncommon  feature  in  friars'  houses  and  occurred  else- 
where at  London  Grey  Friars  and  Norwich  Black  Friars. 
The  domestic  buildings  were  largely  built  over  by  a  mansion 
of  the  Herbert  family,  the  ruins  of  which  are  still  standing. 
The  presence  of  this  structure  renders  the  identification  of 
the  various  parts  of  the  mediaeval  structure  peculiarly 
difficult  ;  the  indications  of  the  date  of  the  domestic 
buildings,  shown  on  the  plan,  must  thus  be  considered  only 

1  Illustrated    in   Arcb.   Camb.   6th   Ser.,  *  Arch.  Camb.  6th  Ser.,  xiv,  34.0. 

xii.  123.  *  C.  B.  Fowler.    Excavations  on  the  site  of 

*  Arch.  Camb.  Orig.  Documents,  p.  xlii.        the  Grey  Friars'  Monastery,   Cardiff,   1896. 


or  N  W.  ANCLE  OF 
FROM  ARCH  CAMB.  6.    *•  5E*  VOL. I.  P 


tentative.  The  extensive  remains  of  the  nave  arcades  of  the 
church,  discovered  during  the  excavations,  show  that  they 
were  erected  about  1300,  but  provided  no  explanation  of  a 
curious  feature  of  the  plan — the  extra  width  of  both  the 
east  and  west  bays — though  perhaps  this  was  in  some  sort 
a  legacy  from  an  earlier  building  that  occupied  the  site. 
This  house  was  spared  by  Owen  Glendower  in  1404,  by 
reason  of  his  well-known  favour  for  the  Franciscan  Order. 
The  suppression  inventory l  mentions  the  quire  with  a  table 
of  alabaster,  a  pair  of  organs,  five  tables  of  alabaster  in  the 
'  church  '  (nave),  a  bell  in  the  steeple,  the  vestry,  kitchen, 
hall  and  a  new  chamber,  also  a  grate  of  iron  that  stood  in 
the  quire. 


The  Grey  Friars'  house  at  Carmarthen  was  founded 
before  12842  an<^  stood  in  Lammas  Street,  to  the  west  of 
the  castle.3  No  structural  fragment  of  it  now  remains 
above  ground  and  there  is  little  or  no  indication  of  its 
plan  or  arrangement .  The  suppression  inventory  4  mentions, 
the  sextry,  a  pall  for  the  Earl  of  Richmond's  tomb,  the 
quire  with  a  pair  of  organs  and  a  goodly  tomb  of  Pryce  ap 
Thomas,  a  grate  of  iron  about  him,  the  church  with  five 
tables  of  alabaster  and  a  frame  of  iron,  through  all  the  church, 
before  the  altars,  for  tapers,  the  steeple  with  a  clock  and 
two  bells,  the  king's  chamber,  the  inner  chamber,  the 
chamber  next  the  lavery,  the  chamber  next  the  parlour 
door,  the  kitchen,  brew-house,  hall  and  buttery.  From 
the  mentions  of  the  church  it  would  appear  to  have  been 
a  building  of  considerable  size  and  importance ;  the 
'  church,'  i.e.  the  nave,  had  apparently  five  altars  with  an 
iron  screen  before  them.  The  two  tombs,  mentioned, 
have  fortunately  both  survived,  that  of  Edmund  Tudor, 
Earl  of  Richmond,  being  now  in  St.  David's  cathedral  and 
that  of  Sir  Rhys  ap  Thomas  in  St.  Thomas'  church, 
Carmarthen.  The  steeple  is  said  to  have  remained  standing 
until  about  the  beginning  of  the  last  century. 

1  Arch.  Camb.  Orig.  Documents,  p.  xxxviii.  3  R.  Com.  Hitt.  Mom.  Wales.   Carmarthen, 

*  Arch.  Camb.  6th  Ser.,  xiv.,  citing  Man.       p.  259. 
Fran.  ii.  p.  287.  *  Arch.  Camb.  Orig.  Documents,  p.  xxxix. 



The  Grey  Friars  were  established  at  Llanfaes  by 
Llewellin  the  Great,  the  church  being  dedicated  in  1237. l 
The  house  was  thus  one  of  the  earliest  friaries  to  be  founded 
in  Wales.  The  modern  house  called  the  Friars,  a  short 
distance  to  the  east  of  Beaumaris  town,  may  possibly 
contain  reused  material,  but  there  are  now  no  structural 
remains  of  the  mediaeval  buildings  above  ground.  The  last 
surviving  structure  was  destroyed  in  the  third  quarter  of 
the  last  century,  but  before  that  time  it  was,  very  fortunately, 
planned  and  the  plan  published  in  Archaeologia  Cambrensis. 2 

Ground  Plan. 

There  can  be  no  doubt  that  this  structure  was  the  western 
part  of  the  church,  the  remains  exhibiting  just  those 
peculiarities  of  plan  which  are  so  commonly  met  with  in 
churches  of  the  Irish  friaries. 

The  Nave  (51  feet  by  28  feet)  had  a  triplet  of  lancet- 
lights  in  the  west  wall  and  in  the  south  wall  a  large  arch, 
17 J  feet  wide,  with  a  doorway  to  the  east  of  it,  both  opening 
into  a  large  transeptal  chapel  or  chapels  and  corresponding 
very  closely  to  the  arrangement  at  Buttevant,  Multi- 
fernam,  Muckross  (Irrelach)  and  many  other  Irish  friaries. 
West  of  the  large  arch  and  in  the  transept,  was  a  recess, 
probably  for  a  tomb.  To  the  east  of  the  nave  was  a  division 

1  Arcb.  Camb.  6th  Ser.,  xiv,  331. 

1  Arcb.  Camb.  3rd  Ser.,  i,  76. 


(21  feet  by  26  feet)  opening  to  the  east  and  west  by  segmental 
arches,  which  are  said  to  have  been  of  '  Perpendicular  ' 
character.  This  was  no  doubt  the  '  walking-place  '  between 
the  friars'  quire  and  the  nave,  and  above  it  was  the  steeple. 
I  have  indicated  a  doorway  in  the  north  wall,  which  was 
probably  present,  as  this  was  commonly  the  only  entrance 
from  the  cloister  to  the  friars'  quire.  Marks  in  the  turf 
were  noted,  in  1855,  indicating  a  destroyed  building 
extending  18  feet  further  east.  This  was  the  friars'  quire, 
which  in  the  first  church,  perhaps  included  the  space  under 
the  steeple  and  making  a  total  length  of  41  f  feet.  When 
the  fifteenth-century  arches  were  inserted  the  quire  must, 
however,  have  been  lengthened  towards  the  east.  This 
alteration  may  have  been  part  of  the  reconstruction  indicated 
in  the  charter  of  Henry  V,  dated  1414.  As  to  the  domestic 
buildings,  they  must  have  stood  on  the  side  of  the  church 
opposite  to  that  of  the  transept,  namely  the  north  side, 
but  there  is  no  further  evidence  concerning  them.  An 
unusually  fine  tomb-slab,  with  the  half  effigy  of  a  lady,  and 
elaborate  foliage,  is  now  preserved  in  the  grounds  of 
Baron  Hill,  Beaumaris,  and  is  illustrated,  together  with  a 
slab  bearing  a  cross  and  interlaced  knotwork  in  Archaeologia 
Cambrensis. l  The  effigy  has  been  ascribed  to  Joan,  daughter 
of  king  John  and  wife  of  the  founder,  and  appears  to  date 
from  the  middle  of  the  thirteenth  century. 

The  inventory  of  goods,2  taken  at  the  dissolution, 
mentions  the  quire  with  a  fair  table  of  alabaster  over  the 
high  altar,  four  tables  of  alabaster  in  the  church,  a  bell  in 
the  steeple,  the  vestry,  brew-house,  kitchen,  hall,  store- 
house and  cloister.  Here  the  term  '  church  '  no  doubt 
includes  the  transeptal  chapels. 


The  White  Friars  were  established  at  Denbigh  in  the 
last  years  of  the  thirteenth  century,  about  1289, 3  and  the 
surviving  portion  of  their  church  dates  from  a  few  years 
later.  It  stands  at  the  foot  of  the  hill,  on  the  north  side  of 
Denbigh  town  and  is  a  building  of  considerable  interest. 
The  part  remaining,  573-  feet  by  22*  feet,  is  the  friars'  quire 

1  Arcb.  Camb.  3rd  Ser.,  i,  80.  3  Arch.  Camb.  6th  Ser.,  xiv,  347. 

2  Ibid-  Orig.  Documents,  p.  xliii. 



and  part  of  the  nave  of  the  church.  The  Quire  occupied 
the  eastern  334  feet  and  has  a  large  east  window  (plate  iv)  of 
about  1300,  altered  early  in  the  fifteenth  century6  into  a 
window  of  five  cinquefoiled  lights,  with  a  transom  and 
vertical  tracery  in  the  head.  In  the  north  wall  is  an  opening 
of  doubtful  age  and  further  west,  an  original  window 
(plate  v)  set  high  in  the  wall,  to  avoid  the  stalls  of  the  friars 

.^ps  8%%%^%^^^ 

m       ..JIM..!* H 



and  consisting  of  five  lights  with  double  mullions,  cinque- 
foiled  ogee  heads  externally  and  plain  ogee  heads  internally. 
In  the  south  wall  is  a  piscina  and  three  bays  of  sedilia, 
all  of  about  1300,  and  further  west,  a  blocked  window, 
corresponding  in  size  and  position  with  that  just  described. 
The  limits  of  the  quire,  westwards,  are  determined  by  the 
position,  one  the  north  wall  (plate  v),  of  seven  curved  roof- 

1  Tanner  is  cited   in   Arch.    Camb.   6th      ment  of  the  church  in  1399,  which  may  be 
Ser.,   nv,   347  as   mentioning   an   enlarge-       the  date  of  the  tracery  of  the  east  window. 

To  face  page  102. 



East  Window 


To  face  page  103. 


(i)  Remains  of  timber  supports  of  steeple.         (2)  Window  in  N.  wall 


principals,  carried  down  below  the  main  wall-plate  on  to  a 
lower  wall-plate,  supported,  in  its  turn,  by  stone  corbels.  The 
same  arrangement  is  indicated  on  the  south  wall  opposite, 
by  a  recess  in  the  wall.  These  principals  supported  the 
timber  steeple,  which  is  described,  in  the  suppression 
inventory,  as  being  like  the  louvre  of  a  hall.  This,  so  far  as 
I  am  aware,  is  the  only  surviving  trace  of  the  timber  steeple 
of  a  friars'  church  in  the  country,  though  several  masonry 
towers  remain  intact.  The  space  under  a  friars'  steeple 
was  kept  open  and  served  generally  as  the  chief  means  of 
communication  between  the  cloister  and  the  quire  and 
often  with  the  cemetery  to  the  north  of  the  church  as  well. 
The  space  was  closed  to  the  east  and  west  by  walls  or,  as 
in  this  case,  by  screens.  In  the  south  wall  is  the  doorway 
from  the  cloister  and  above  it  a  three-light  window. 
Immediately  outside  this  doorway,  and  to  the  west  of  it, 
is  a  recess,  probably  for  a  stoup. 

The  small  surviving  portion  of  the  Nave  has,  in  the  north 
wall,  the  eastern  splay  of  a  fourteenth-century  window, 
blocked  early  in  the  sixteenth  century,  when  another 
window  was  inserted  at  a  higher  level.  This  second  window 
has  a  moulded  internal  lintel  of  oak  extending  west  beyond 
the  line  of  the  existing  west  wall.  In  the  south  wall  is  a 
blocked  window,  probably  original,  and  below  it  is  the 
piscina  of  one  of  the  two  nave  altars,  placed  against  the  west 
screen  under  the  steeple.  The  existing  west  wall  is  com- 
paratively modern,  but  how  far  the  nave  extended  beyond 
it,  cannot  be  determined,  except  by  excavation ;  the 
broken  end  of  the  south  wall  is  visible  externally.  It  is 
unfortunate  that  the  original  roof  of  the  building  was 
destroyed  by  fire  in  1898. 

Of  the  domestic  buildings,  the  only  surviving  fragment 
appears  to  be  the  lower  part  of  the  south  wall  of  a  barn, 
running  parallel  to  the  church  at  a  distance  of  about 
61  feet  to  the  south. 

The  suppression  survey, l  after  describing  the  aisleless 
church,  roofed  with  slate,  mentions  the  little  cloister  south 
of  it,  one  or  more  of  the  flanking  ranges  of  which,  incorpor- 
ated the  adjoining  cloister  alley  or  allies  ;  the  chapter-house 
and  bishop's  lodging,  on  the  east  side  ;  on  the  south  side 
the  dorter  (possibly  with  the  frater  beneath  it)  ;  on  the 

1  R.  Com.  Hist.  Mom.  Denbigh,  p.  70. 


west  side  a  little  hall  (possibly  the  guest-hall  or  the  f rater), 
the  buttery  and  a  chamber  ;  an  old  kitchen,  a  gatehouse 
and  an  old  stable,  of  which  the  positions  are  not  specified. 
It  should  be  noted  that  the  traditional  relative  positions 
of  the  various  buildings  was  not  maintained  at  Denbigh  as 
was  not  uncommonly  the  case  in  other  friars'  houses. 
The  inventory  of  goods1  mentions  the  quire  with  two 
tables  of  alabaster,  two  bells  in  the  steeple,  the  vestry, 
chamber,  hall,  kitchen,  brew-house  and  buttery. 


The  only  house  of  Austin  Friars  in  Wales  was  established 
at  Newport  in  I377-2  It  was  situated  between  Church 
Street  and  the  river  Usk.  In  1800  Cox3  describes  the 
remains  of  the  friary  as  consisting  of  several  detached 
buildings,  including  a  spacious  hall  with  Gothic  windows, 
the  dilapidated  body  of  the  church  and  a  small  but  elegant 
north  transept.  Mr.  T.  Wakeman,4  writing  in  1859,  says 
that  all  the  remains  had  then  been  destroyed  and  gives 
an  illustration  of  a  sixteenth-century  building  and  some 
other  fragments,  which  had  recently  been  demolished. 
There  is  now  nothing  of  recognisable  antiquity  on  the  site, 
but  it  may  be  noted  that  the  mention  of  the  north  transept 
implies  that  here,  as  at  Llanfaes,  the  Irish  type  of  church 
with  the  single  transept  was  adopted. 

I  am  indebted  to  Dr.  R.  E.  M.  Wheeler  for  the  photo- 
graphs of  the  Black  Friars  at  Brecon  and  to  Mr.  W.  J. 
Hemp  for  those  of  the  White  Friars  at  Denbigh. 

The  block  of  the  plan  of  the  Black  Friars  at  Bangor 
has  been  kindly  lent  by  the  Cambrian  Archaeological 
Society,  and  that  of  Buck's  view  of  the  Black  Friars  at 
Rhuddlan  by  the  Flintshire  Historical  Society. 

1  Arch.  Camb.  Orig.  Documents,  p.  xlii.  *  T.  Wakeman,  The  Monastery  of  Justin 

1  Arch.  Camb.  6th  Ser.,  xiv,  332.  Friars  at  Newport  (1859),  Monmouthshire 

3  Cox.  Tour  in  Monmouthshire,  p.  56.  and  Caerleon  Antiq.  Soc. 





BY   T.   ELIAS,   ESQ. 
(Contributed  to  the  Conway  Conyrest,  August  1897). 

ISTORY  informs  us  that  Henry  VIII 
(in  conjunction  with  Cardinal  Wolsey), 
on  the  suppression  of  the  monastic  insti- 
tutions of  the  country,  recommended 
the  dismantling  of  the  buildings.  This 
will  go  far  to  account  for  the  paucity 
of  extensive  ruins.  Cardinal  Wolsey, 
the  first  place,  closed  the  smaller  monasteries, 
principally  those  belonging  to  the  friars,  which  some 
writers  say  had  become  dens  of  corruption.  Many  of 
them  were  so  poorly  endowed  that  their  "religious" 
members  must  have  been  little  better  than  paupers. 
The  mendicant  and  barefooted  fraternity  were,  no  doubt, 
a  great  burden  to  the  laity,  often  obtaining  relief  through 
working  on  the  superstition  of  the  latter.  From  these 
facts  we  must  deduce  that  dissolution,  or  partial  disso- 
lution, had  become  a  necessity,  and  that  the  reform  was 
more  a  social  than  a  religious  matter.  It  appears  that 
out  of  two  hundred  small  "houses",  fifty-three  had  a  clear 
income  of  less  than  £50  per  annum.1  Of  the  fifty-three, 
twenty-three  had  endowments  varying  from  £10  to 
£20  per  annum.  It  was  impossible  for  such  institutions  to 
do  much  good,  and  Cardinal  Wolsey  was  to  some  extent 
justified  in  using  a  portion  of  those  endowments  for  im- 
proving the  position  of  his  school  and  college  at  Ipswich 

1  This  would   represent  a  somewhat   larger  sum   than   in   modern 



Halifax,  two  hundred  years  ago,  was  known  as  a 
"  proud  little  town".  Its  inhabitants  were  noted  for 
their  attainments  in  learning,  and  many  of  the  parents 
in  the  neighbourhood,  where  they  could  afford  it,  sent 
their  sons  to  Cambridge  and  Dublin  Universities,  to  get 
a  thorough  classical  education. 


and  Oxford.  Unfortunately  Henry  VIII  resolved  on 
a  much  more  radical  policy,  and  proceeded  to  dissolve 
and  plunder  all  the  monastic  institutions  of  the  realm, 
commencing  with  those  which  were  endowed  with  less 
than  £200  per  annum.  He  sent  commissioners  to  visit 
religious  houses,  to  inquire  into  their  condition,  and  to 
ascertain  what  lands  and  revenues  they  held,  and  what 
use  was  made  of  the  same.  The  way  in  which  the 
members  of  these  "  commissions"  carried  out  their 
instructions  is  historical ;  and  no  doubt,  in  many  cases, 
after  satisfying  the  rapacious  king,  the  members  were 
not  unmindful  of  their  own  respective  interests  !  In  the 
celebrated  "  Black-book"  compiled  by  them,  and  laid 
before  Parliament,  they  formulated  a  series  of  terrible 
indictments  against  the  monasteries,  no  doubt  partly 
true  and  partly  false.  These  disclosures  created  intense 
ill-feeling  against  the  monastic  orders,  which  must  have 
resulted  in  great  suffering  on  their  part.  In  1536  an  order 
was  issued  for  the  suppression  of  three  hundred  and 
twenty-six  monastic  institutions,  having  in  the  aggregate 
revenues  to  the  extent  of  £32,000  nominally,  but  really 
ten  times  that  amount  was  granted  to  the  king,  together 
with  the  furniture,  chattels,  plate,  etc.,  belonging  to  them, 
of  the  computed  value  of  £100,000.  The  higher-endowed 
monasteries  extended  their  hospitality  to  the  expelled 
members  of  the  smaller  houses.  It  is  said  that  at 
least  10,000  members  of  the  various  monasteries  were 
turned  adrift,  with  the  gift  of  a  few  clothes,  and  a  trifle 
each  in  money.  The  sufferings  of  these  poor  monks 
must  have  been  terrible.  It  is  possible  that  some  of  them 
became  inmates  of  the  continental  monasteries.  About 
1538  the  king  took  the  higher-grade  establishments  in 
hand,  which  met  the  same  fate  as  the  smaller  monastic 
institutions.  In  some  cases  the  lands  were  granted  for 
founding  new  bishoprics,  but  those  that  benefited  most 
by  the  plunder  were  the  king  and  some  of  his  favourites. 
The  latter  were  not  slow  in  robbing  the  buildings  of 
all  valuable  materials,  and  leaving  them  utterly  dis- 
mantled. In  many  examples  of  Henry's  Charters  it  is 
stipulated  that  this  should  be  done.  How  sad  it  is 
to  think  of  the  wholesale  destruction,  and  scattering  of 


invaluable  historical  manuscripts,  missals,  etc.,  when  we 
are  told  that  each  letter  of  the  latter  (according  to  old 
chroniclers)  took  hours  to  paint !  Such  chronicles,  etc.,  as 
have  survived  this  outbreak  of  vandalism — those  of 
Abingdon,  of  St.  Augustine  of  Evesham,  of  St.  Albans 
and  Malmesbury,  the  "  Roll  of  Battle  Abbey,"  and  many 
others— bear  testimony  to  the  extraordinary  industry 
and  learning  of  the  monks  of  old.  An  immense  number 
of  manuscripts  (some  say  shiploads)  were  sent  off  to 
Holland,  Germany,  Italy,  and  other  countries.  Leland 
says : — 

"  Covetousness  was  at  that  time  so  busy,  that  public  wealth 
was  not  anywhere  regarded.  A  number  of  those  who  purchased 
these  superstitious  mansions,  the  monasteries  and  abbeys,  reserved 
of  the  libraries,  books,  some  to  scour  their  candlesticks  (&c.),  some 
were  sold  to  the  grocers  (&c.),  and  some  they  sent  over  the  sea  to  the 
bookbinders,  not  in  small  numbers,  but  in  shipsf ul ;  yea,  the  Uni- 
versities of  the  realm  are  not  clear  from  so  detestable  a  fact.  I 
know  a  merchant  that  bought  the  contents  of  two  noble  libraries  for 
40sh.  each — a  shame  it  is  to  be  spoken." 

The  total  number  of  the  monasteries  suppressed 
amounted  to  645.  The  abbots  of  23  of  these  had 
seats  in  Parliament.  Ninety  colleges  were  dissolved, 
2374  churches  and  free  chapels,  and  110  hospitals  or 
fraternities,  also  shared  the  same  fate.  The  total  income 
amounted  to  £161,000.  Many  of  the  magnificent 
churches  and  monasteries  were  simply  stripped  of  their 
roofs,  and  of  course  were  soon  in  a  ruinous  condition. 
Many  of  these  interesting  relics  of  the  past  are  still  to 
be  found  in  every  county  in  Great  Britain.  The  poorer 
inhabitants  of  the  country  must  have  suffered  greatly 
from  the  suppression  of  the  larger  establishments,  as 
not  only  did  the  monks  administer  to  their  religious  wants, 
but  extended  a  kind  of  outdoor  relief  which  was  a  great 
boon  in  its  way.  They  also  attended  to  their  physical 
ailments,  a  great  matter  in  those  dark  ages.  In  another 
way  its  effects  told  disastrously  on  the  nobility  and 
gentry,  who  often  provided  for  their  younger  sons,  or 
friends  and  relations,  by  placing  them  in  the  various 
monastic  institutions.  In  some  cases  the  monastic  lands 
were  bought  by  land-jobbers,  who  threw  them  out  of 


cultivation,  and  so  deprived  many  labourers  of  their  daily 
bread.  All  this  created  bad  feeling  against  the  "re- 
formers", and  led  to  many  serious  outbreaks  on  the 
part  of  the  populace.  The  monks  founded  schools, 
drained  marshes,  cleared  the  thick  forests,  and  were 
invaluable  members  of  society  in  many  ways.  Some  of 
the  monasteries  near  the  sea  coast  were  strongly  fortified, 
and  were  often  attacked  by  Danish  marauders.  In 
"  Here  ward  the  Wake",  Kingsley  graphically  describes  a 
monastery  of  this  description — "  Crowland  Abbey". 
A  writer  in  the  Gentleman s  Magazine,  in  1824,  says: — 

"  Taking  the  monks  as  a  body,  there  is  no  doubt  that  they  were 
hospitable,  promoters  of  science,  and  the  preservers  of  literature. 
Gross  ignorance  and  insensibility  could  not  have  been  universal  in 
men  who  preserved  through  several  centuries  of  the  deepest  bar- 
barity, the  remains  of  Augustan  learning  and  Attic  elegance  ;  who 
have  bequeathed  to  us  many  models  of  architecture  unrivalled, 
who  have  illuminated  missals  with  lovely  colours,  not  approached 
since  that  time." 

As  a  proof  of  the  number  of  monastic  establishments 
existing  in  England,  I  may  instance  a  few  names  and 

Suffolk — 5  abbeys,  24  priories,  etc. 

Yorkshire  (North  Eiding) — 16  abbeys,  5  priories,  8  nunneries. 
Yorkshire  (East  Eiding) — 9  priories,  6  nunneries. 
Somerset — 7  abbeys,  19  priories,  3  nunneries. 

NOTE. — Glastonbury  Abbey  had  an  annual  income  of  £40,000. 
The  abbot  sat  in  Parliament.  (The  last  Abbot,  Eichard  Whiting, 
refused  to  surrender  to  Henry  VIII,  and  with  two  other  men,  was 
afterwards  hanged.) 

Stafford— 6  abbeys,  13  priories,  7  nunneries. 
These  statistics   are  taken   from   a   "  Compendium  of   County 
History",  published  in  the  Gentleman's  Magazine,  1823-8. 

Many  petitions  were  sent  up  to  Parliament,  praying 
that  in  the  case  of  the  larger  establishments  the  Act  of 
Dissolution  might  be  suspended,  but  they  were  of  no 
avail.  This  fact  proved  that  the  good  deeds  of  the 
monks  were  greatly  appreciated  by  many  people.  The 
Orders  most  popular  were  the  Benedictines  and  the 
Cistercians.  By  far  the  greater  number  of  the  monas- 

1898  3 


teries  were  built  and  endowed  between  the  tenth  and 
thirteenth  centuries.  Wales,  being  a  poor  country,  had 
fewer  religious  houses  than  England  ;  yet  some  of  them 
were  established  long  before  those  in  England.  The 
following  are  a  few  instances  :— 

St.  Deiniol(or  Bangorfawr),  Baugorisycoed,  St.  Beuno  (Clynnog), 
Bardsey,  Llanddwyn,  St.  Cybi  (Cor),  St.  Seiriol  (Cor),  St.  Winifreds, 
Gwytherin  (a  nunnery),  St.  Mary's  Priory,  Beddgelert,  etc.  With 
a  few  exceptions,  there  are  no  traces  left  of  the  above.  There  are 
fine  ruins  at  Peumon  (which  priory  was  built  by  Maelgwyn 
Gwynedd),  and  at  Valle  Crucis  Abbey. 

It  appears  that  the  Abbeys  of  Aberconway,  Ystrad- 
fflur,  and  Ystrad  Farchill  (Strata  Monaca),  were  the  most 
important  monasteries  in  Wales.  There  was  a  Carmelite 
abbey  at  Denbigh,  which,  according  to  an  old  chronicle, 
was  given  by  Sir  John  Salisbury  in  1282  to  the  monastery 
of  Bardsey.  It  was  established  by  Adam  Salisbury, 
temp.  Henry  III.  Owen,  in  his  Account  of  Wales  (1602),. 
only  mentions  a  few  monasteries,  etc.,  in  the  different 
counties  of  Wales  :— 

"  Flintshire — Basingwick,  alias  Maesglas,  Monachlog  Ruddlan. 

Denbighshire — Ville  Crucis,  also  Langewast ;  Priory,  Dinas 

Montgomeryshire — Monasteries,  etc.,  none. 

Anglesey — Monastery,  Beaumaris  (?  Friars),  Priory,  Penrnon. 

Carnarvonshire  —  Monasteries,  Bangor  and  Conway  ;  Priory, 
Bodkeln  (Bethkeln),  Beddgelert(?). 

Merionethshire — Monastery,  Kimmer. 

Cardiganshire — Nunnery,  Llanllyr  ;  Priory,  Cardigan." 

From  the  above  list  it  appears  that  Owen  knew 
nothing  about  the  various  other  monastic  institutions,  or 
purposely  ignored  them.1 

Coming  now  to  the  special  subject  of  this  essay,  that  is, 
the  history  of  the  local  abbeys  and  convents  of  the 
Vale  of  Conway,  one  cannot  help  regretting  the  fact  that 
so  little  reliable  information  is  to  be  obtained  about 
them.  Dugdale,  Speed,  Tanner,  and  some  other  authors 
have,  however,  thrown  some  light  upon  the  subject. 

1  Latimer,  who  could  not  be  suspected  of  any  leaning  towards  the 
Romish  faith,  earnestly  entreated  that  two  or  three  monasteries  in 
every  shire  might  be  continued  (Baynes,  Antiquities  of  Conway  Castle). 


The  abbey  of  Aber-Conway  was  the  most  important 
establishment,  so  it  ought  to  come  first.  The  original 
abbey  was  endowed  by  Llewelyn  ap  lorwerth,  Prince  of 
North  Wales,  "  to  the  honor  of  the  blessed  Virgin  Mary" 
(1185-6).  By  his  charter  it  was  highly  endowed  with 
lands  in  Carnarvonshire,  Anglesey,  and  Denbighshire. 
He  also  allotted  to  it  the  land  on  which  the  abbey  stood, 
and  also  part  of  Creuddyn.  In  the  charter,  written  in 
Latin,  which  is  to  be  found  in  extenso  in  Williams's 
History  of  Aberconwy,  the  boundaries  of  the  different 
estates  are  fully  described.  Many  of  the  names  men- 
tioned are  still  to  be  found  on  the  Ordnance  Maps,  and 
help  to  prove  the  enormous  extent  of  the  properties 
belonging  to  the  monastery.  Of  course,  the  greater 
number  of  the  names  are  not  now  to  be  found.  Near 
the  town  of  Aberconway — if  we  are  to  judge  by  names — 
the  present  Conway  "  Council"  property  is  identical 
with  the  abbey  lands  in  the  borough  ;  and  the  fact  of 
Edward  I  having  given  land  to  the  town,  on  the  removal 
of  the  abbey  to  Maenan,  seems  to  confirm  that  idea.  In 
addition  to  that  property,  there  was  land  in  Llanfair- 
fechan,  reaching  as  far  as  the  Cambwll  river,  which  runs 
through  the  Brynneuadd  land.  In  Anglesey  the  abbey 
had  land  in  the  neighbourhood  of  the  Braint  river, 
Trefarthen,  Dwynain,  Bodgedwydd,  Sarn,  Carregele, 
Carnedd  lorworth,  Henllys,  Trefdraeth,  Corsygygfrau, 
Pwllhaloc,  Llanfaer,  and  many  other  places,  the  names 
of  which  have  disappeared.  The  charter  also  specifies 
certain  lands  about  Kebymog  and  Llanwdda  (Carnar- 
von). In  south  Carnarvonshire  the  names  would  suggest 
that  from  the  village  of  Beddgelert  to  the  summit  of 
"  Ywyddfa"  and  "  Cribgoch,"  the  land  about  Gwastad 
Amies,  and  Nant  Gwynant,  Llyndir,  Hendrefrwynog, 
Pennant  Carndylif,  Mymbyr,  Blaencarw,  Llyndinas, 
Abercolwyn,  and  on  by  the  Cowlyd  lake,  and  "  Llithrig 
y  wrach",  as  far  as  Llyn  Eigiau,  and  from  there  down 
to  the  Conway  river,  belonged  to  the  Abbey  of  Aber- 
conway.1 These  lands  would  represent  a  very  extensive 

1  There  is  considerable  doubt  as  to  whether  it  belonged  to  the 
Bishop  of  Bangor  (St.  Deiniols)  or  to  the  Monastery  of  Aberconway 
(Williams's  History  oj  Aberconwy,  etc.,  and  Pennant). 


portion  of  central,  south,  and  east  Carnarvonshire.  It 
would  also  go  far  to  prove  that  the  monastery  at  Bedd- 
gelert  (p.  54)  was  a  branch  of  the  Abbey  of  Aberconway. 
In  addition  to  their  enormous  endowments,  the  monks  of 
Aberconway  had  many  exceptional  rights  and  privileges, 
including  perpetual  exemption  from  keeping  men,  horses, 
dogs,  or  hawks  for  the  Prince's  service,  and  from  giving 
entertainment  to  himself,  "  or  any  lay  person  on  pretence 
of  custom."  They  were  allowed  to  choose  their  own 
abbot,  without  interference.  All  wrecks  "pon  their  land 
belonged  to  them,  and  in  case  any  of  their  vessels  were 
wrecked  on  the  Prince's  land,  they  could  recover  the 
same.  They  were  also  free  from  tolls,  and  were  entitled 
to  a  free  passage  over  the  ferries  of  Menai,  Conway, 
Abermawddach,  and  Dyfi.  The  Prince  had  no  juris- 
diction over  them  in  any  of  his  Courts,  except  according 
to  their  own  rules.  They  were  allowed  to  receive  any 
person  into  the  monastery  ;  and,  if  any  monk  borrowed 
money  without  the  consent  of  the  abbot,  the  monastery 
was  not  answerable  for  it.  All  these  and  several  other 
privileges  were  secured  for  them  by  the  charter  dated 
from  Aberconway,  A.D.  1198,  and  witnessed  by  lorwerth 
Gam  and  Gwyn  ab  Ednywain  Ydon,  his  chaplain. 

The  monastery,  in  addition,  had  extensive  fisheries 
reaching  up  the  estuary  of  the  Conway,  and  also  at 
Llandrillo  yn  Rhos,  where  the  "  Gorad"  or  Weir  still 
exists,  and  the  tenant  has  still  to  reserve  the  "  takes"  of 
the  tenth  day  for  the  benefit  of  the  vicar  of  Llandrillo. 
Near  the  "  Gorad"  there  is  a  small  cell  and  well,  where 
it  is  said  that  a  monk  prayed  daily  for  the  success  of  the 
fishery  (p.  49).  Like  other  monasteries,  the  Abbey  of 
Aberconway1  was  the  depository  of  the  public  Acts.  All 
important  matters  happening  in  Wales  were  recorded  in 
the  Abbeys  of  Aberconway,  in  North  Wales,  and  Ystrad- 
fflur,  in  South  Wales.  Every  third  year  the  records  of  the 
two  monasteries  were  compared  together  by  the  existing 
bards,  when  going  on  their  visitations.  This  continued 
until  about  1270  A.D.  Unfortunately,  in  the  case  of  the 
Abbey  of  Aberconway,  there  is  every  probability  that 

1  History  of  Aberconwy,  Pennant,  etc. 


all  the  valuable  documents  stored  there  were  destroyed 
(up  to  1245),  during  the  siege  of  Deganwy  Castle  by 
Henry  III.  Matthew  Paris  gives  the  following  account 
of  the  sack  of  the  Abbey  on  that  date,  his  information 
being  obtained  through  the  report  of  a  courtier  present 
with  the  King  on  the  occasion.  It  seems  the  King  was 
reduced  to  great  straits  :— 

"The  King  with  his  army  is  encamped  at  Gannock  (Deganwy),  and 
is  busy  fortifying  that  place  (sufficiently  strong  already)  about 
which  we  lay  in  our  tents,  in  watching,  fasting,  and  praying,  and 
freezing.  We  watch  for  fear  of  the  Welsh  .  .  .  .  ,  we  fast  for 
want  of  provision  .  .  .  .  ,  we  pray  that  we  may  speedily  return 
safe,  and  scot-free  home,  and  we  freeze  for  want  of  winter  gar- 
ments  There  is  a  small  arm  of  the  sea  under  the  Castle 

where  we  lay This  arm  lies  betwixt  us  and  Snowdon,  where 

the  Welsh  are  encamped  ;  it  is  in  breadth,  when  the  tide  is  in, 
about  a  bow-shot.  Now  it  happened  that  upon  Monday  before 
Michaelmas  day,  an  Irish  vessel  came  to  the  mouth  of  the  haven, 
with  provision  to  be  sold  in  the  camp,  which  being  negligently 
looked  after  by  the  mariners,  was  upon  the  low  ebb  stranded 
on  the  other  side.  .  .  .  The  enemy  perceiving  this,  descended 
from  the  mountains,  and  laid  siege  to  the  ship,  which  was  fast  on 
the  dry  sands/' 

Then  he  describes  the  sending  of  some  border  Welsh, 
etc..  to  rescue  the  ship.  The  Welsh  withdrew  on  their 
approach,  and  retired,  pursued  for  about  two  miles  by  the 
borderers,  who  slew  a  great  number  of  them. 

"  In  their  return  back  our  soldiers  being  too  covetous,  and  greedy 
of  plunder,  spoiled  the  Abbey  of  Aberconwy,  and  burnt  all  the 
books,  and  other  choice  utensils  belonging  to  it.  The  Welsh  being 
distracted  by  these  irreligious  practices  got  together  in  great 
number,  and  in  a  desperate  manner  setting  upon  the  English, 
killed  a  great  number  of  them,  and  following  the  rest  to  the  water 
side,  forced  as  many  as  could  not  escape  into  the  boats,"  etc.1 

In  this  skirmish  several  men  of  note  were  killed,  in- 
cluding Richard,  Earl  of  Cornwall,  Sir  Allan  Buscell, 
Sir  Adam  de  Maio,  Sir  GeofFry  Estuany,  and  others, 
and  about  lt)0  soldiers,  so  retribution  came  quickly  upon 
them  for  their  sacrilege.  The  monastery  itself  was 

1  Williams's  History  of  Aberconwy,  etc. 


supposed  to  have  occupied  most  of  the  space  in  the 
centre  of  the  town,  and  probably  the  present  Castle 
Street  and  High  Street  would  represent  the  boundary 
on  two  sides,  and  the  small  street  passing  by  '  Ty 
Gwyrdd "  on  the  west,  and  the  Holyhead  and  Chester 
road  the  other  two  sides.  Unfortunately,  there  are  no 
remains  now  that  could  be  positively  identified  with 
the  Abbey. 

In  Pennant's  time  there  existed  a  "  long  vaulted  room 
of  good  masonry,  and  worked  with  clay,  but  plastered 
with  lime,  and  a  Saxon  door".  They  were  taken  down 
about  fifty  years  ago.  In  the  churchyard  at  the  same 
date  there  was  an  ancient  tombstone,  ornamented  with  a 
"  crois  fleuris",  but  it  had  no  inscription.  In  1832 
another  one  was  found  with  a  plain  cross  cut  on  it,  when 
making  some  improvement  in  the  Castle  Hotel  yard.  A 
stone  font  was  also  discovered  about  1870  at  the  back  of 
a  house  just  below  the  Castle  Hotel,  all  which  help  to  indi- 
cate the  position  of  a  portion  of  the  monastic  buildings. 
In  cutting  drains,  etc.,  in  the  streets,  many  skeletons  were 
found,  but  it  is  possible  they  might  have  been  those  of 
people  who  died  of  the  plague  in  1607.  Several  illus- 
trious persons  were  buried  in  the  Abbey,  including  the 
founder,  Llewelyn  the  Great,  in  1246.  In  1200,  Griffith 
ab  Cynan  ab  Owen  Gwynedd  was  buried  here,  in  a 
monk's  cowl,  from  superstitious  motives.  Llewelyn  ap 
Maelgwyn  Gwynedd  was  also  buried  here  in  1230.  The 
great  Llewelyn's  stone  coffin  was  removed  to  Maenan 
Abbey,  and  it  is  now  to  be  seen  at  the  Gwydir  Chapel 
(attached  to  Llanrwst  parish  church),  p.  45. 

The  parish  church  of  Conway  has  no  pretensions  to 
architectural  beauty,  but  is  a  large  structure,  and  part  of 
it  seems  very  ancient.  The  length  of  the  church  is 
116  ft,  and  the  breadth  58  ft.,  without  the  transepts. 
There  are  many  interesting  monuments  in  the  church. 
One  is  in  memory  of  Robert  Wynn  (of  Gwydir),  who 
built  Plas  Mawr.  Several  of  the  Hollands  and  Hookes 
were  also  buried  here.  Only  one  of  the  four  original 
bells  remains.  This  large  bell  bears  the  inscription 
"ave  fidelis  dia  Werburga,  santissima  felix  in  choro 
Virginum";  below  this  is  "  Ora  pro  nobis". 



The  above  monastery  was  removed  from  Conway  in 
1283,  when  it  became  a  garrison  town,  and  it  was  found 
inconvenient  to  have  a  monastic  institution  in  the  town. 
Edward  I  (among  other  changes)  became  patron  of 
the  monks  on  their  removal  to  Maenan,  where  he 
built  them  another  house,  and  added  largely  to  their 
possessions,  in  exchange  for  properties  in  and  about 
Conway.  The  change  was  confirmed  by  a  bull  of  Pope 
Nicholas  IV  in  1289,  the  new  abbey  still  retaining  its 
ancient  name  of  Conway,  and  was  so  called  even  till  the 
time  of  its  dissolution — temp.  Henry  VIII. 

The  new  possessions  mentioned  in  the  confirmed 
charter  of  Edward  I  (in  exchange  for  certain  properties, 
as  above)  appear  to  have  consisted  of  the  township  of 
Maenan,  in  Carnarvonshire,  extending  as  far  as  the  county 
boundary  at  Wernburys  on  the  east,  and  Nanhwrach1 
on  the  south  east.  In  fact,  the  monastic  boundary  and 
the  present  boundary  of  the  county  of  Carnarvon,  on 
the  east  side  of  the  Conway,  are  identical.  Together 
with  that  property  it  appears  that  a  portion  of  the 
County  of  Denbigh,  as  far  as  the  river  Erythlyn,  was 
also  included.2 

On  the  west  side  of  the  river  all  the  meadow  land 
between  the  Carrog  (old)  river  and  Eigiau  river,  con- 
sisting of  600  or  700  acres,  was  also  included,  and  is 
described  as  "de  Talepont"  (Talybont  is  the  name  of  the 
district).  That  property  is  still  extra-parochial  and  free 
of  tithes,  like  the  rest  of  the  abbey  lands  proper. 

In  treating  of  the  grants  to  the  older  monastery,  I 
should  have  added  the  lands  south  and  east  of  Capel 
Garrnon,  which  appear  to  have  extended  from  Rhydlaii- 
fair  by  Voelas  Kernianc  to  the  top  of  Moel  Seissianc, 
above  the  village  of  Pentre  Voelas,  and  from  the  Voel 
as  far  as  Llyn  Alwen,  and  (probably)  nearly  as  far  as 

1  Probably  the  lordship  of  Wenlli.— ED. 

2  It   is    possible  that  all  the   townships  of   Eglwysfach,   with  the 
exception  of  Trefodnant,  belonged  to  the  Abbey.     The   tithes  now 
belong  to  the  Llanrwst  Grammar  School,  etc. 


Cerrigydruidion.  The  names  are  very  obscure,  but  it 
seems  likely  that  they  all  come  under  the  denominations 
-Tir  Ifan,  Tir  Abbat,  Tubrys,  etc. 

The  property  was  very  extensive,  but  probably  almost 
in  a  state  of  nature  at  that  time. 

These  last-named  properties  close  the  long  catalogue 
of  lands  belonging  to  the  two  monasteries.  There  is 
nothing  to  show  the  extent  of  the  Abbey  of  Maenan, 
but  it  must  have  been  considerable.  At  present  there 
is  absolutely  nothing  left  of  the  monastery,  except 
an  arch  of  sandstone  about  9  ft.  high,  the  stones  of 
which  were  re-dressed  (when  the  old  house  was  pulled 
down),  and  it  was  inserted  in  a  wall  at  the  back  of 
the  house,  and  one  "  gargoyle  "  which  may  now  be  seen 
in  the  wall  on  the  south  side  of  the  present  house.  The 
mansion  is  modern,  having  been  built  in  1848-52.  The 
writer  remembers,  in  the  old  house  that  stood  between 
the  present  house  and  the  small  river,  a  long  vaulted 
brick  cellar  with  the  Gothic  arch,  above  mentioned, 
at  the  end,  bricked  up.  Whether  it  was  simply  an 
ordinary  passage,  or  a  portion  of  the  crypt,  it  is  im- 
possible to  tell,  but  it  certainly  had  formed  a  part  of  the 
old  abbey.  In  building  the  present  house  it  was  pulled 
down  with  the  old  manor  house.  There  are  at  present 
two  very  large  underground  rooms  about  10  ft.  high, 
under  an  old  building  at  the  back  of  the  present  house, 
which  apparently  have  never  been  explored,  so  it  is 
impossible  to  say  whether  they  formed  part  of  the  old 
abbey  or  not.  In  digging  the  foundations  of  a  green- 
house (near  the  place  where  the  present  tower  stands)  a 
great  number  of  skeletons  were  dug  up  about  eighty 
years  ago,  buried  close  together,  so  they  were  probably 
within  the  walls  of  the  monastery. 

The  writer  has  in  his  possession  a  large  panel,  painted 
in  oil,  probably  in  the  middle  of  the  last  century,  showing 
the  old  house  and  grounds,  the  latter  laid  out  after  the 
Dutch  style.  Its  age  must  be  great,  as,  in  the  place 
where  two  enormous  evergreen  oaks  stood,  up  to  a  few 
years  ago,  there  is  represented  a  neat  garden  with  a 
summer-house  in  the  centre.  The  names  of  one  or  two 
fields  are  suggestive  of  the  monastic  nature  of  the  place 


such  as  "  Cae  Person",  "  Cae  Gwenllian"  (the  field  of  the 
White  Nun),  etc.  Five  skeletons  were  exhumed  in 
digging  the  foundation  of  the  present  tower,  which  must 
be  very  near  the  spot  where  the  other  bones  were  found. 
Judging  by  the  appearance  of  the  surrounding  land,  there 
must  have  been  between  twelve  to  fifteen  acres  of  grounds 
and  garden.  We  have  no  record  of  the  fate  of  the  MSS. 
stored  in  this  Abbey,  but  it  is  possible  that  some  of  them 
may  have  been  carried  away  by  the  last  Abbot,  and 
disposed  of. 

Members  of  the  Kyffin  family  are  still  in  possession  of 
the  manor  and  hall  of  Maenan  (p.  Gl).  It  has  puzzled 
many  how,  under  the  law  of  celibacy,  it  was  possible  that 
the  present  members  could  be  descended  from  the  above 
Abbot,  but  if  there  is  any  truth  in  the  note  on  the 
subject  (on  p.  61),  one  may  be  brought  to  believe  in  its 

Many  years  ago  there  were  a  good  many  poisonous 
plants  (useful  medicinally),  growing  luxuriantly  in  the 
garden,  grounds,  and  woods,  such  as  aconite  (Monks- 
hood),  spurge  laurel,  savin,  etc.  Occasionally,  belladonna 
atropa  appears  mysteriously  at  long  intervals,  also  hen- 
bane. Besides  these,  I  might  name  several  harmless  and 
useful  simples  which  flourished  there.  The  appearance 
of  the  above  plants  must  convince  us  that,  amongst  other 
useful  qualities,  the  monks  had  a  considerable  knowledge 
of  medicine,  and  their  disappearance  must  have  been  a 
calamity  to  the  surrounding  ignorant  inhabitants.  There 
are  absolutely  no  local  traditions  about  the  Maenan 
Abbey,  and  it  is  one  of  the  most  extreme  cases  of  utter 
disappearance  from  the  face  of  the  earth :  illustrating 
Prospero's  remark  as  to  earth's  palaces,  etc.,  that  "  like 
the  baseless  fabric  of  a  vision",  they  disappear  and 
"  leave  not  a  wrack  behind". 

On  the  dissolution  of  the  monasteries,  the  property  of 
the  monks  of  Aberconwy,  was  disposed  of  by  the  Com- 
missioners appointed  by  the  King.  The  members  were 
Cad'r  Wynne,  of  Voelas  (p.  57),  Ellis  Price,  of  Giler 
("  Dr.  Coch"),  and  other  Welshmen  of  note.  It  appears 
that  Elizeus  Wynn,  of  Melai,  applied  for  and  obtained 
a  grant  of  the  Abbey  lands  surrounding  the  monastery. 


The  grant  was  confirmed  by  Queen  Elizabeth.  Subse- 
quently, it  was  sold  to  Clough,  of  Denbigh,  and  finally, 
by  the  marriage  of  William  Wynne,  Esq.,  of  Melai,  with 
Mary,  daughter  and  heiress  of  Sir  Rd.  Clough,  the  estate 
came  back  to  the  Melai  family.  This  Mary  died  1632. 
Elizeus  Wynne  applied  for  grants  of  a  great  number  of 
forfeited  monastic  estates  in  England  and  Wales.  Some 
of  these  properties  were  subsequently  sold,  one  estate 
being  that  of  the  Franciscan  monks  of  Llanfaer  (or 
Friars)  Beaumaris,  which  was  bought  by  Mr.  Rowland 
White.  It  is  now  the  property  of  Sir  Richard  Wm. 

Elizeus  Wynn,  amongst  other  properties  (mentioned 
in  "  the  requests  to  purchase"),  applied  for  the  grant  of 
a  large  property  in  Salop,  that  of  the  monks  of  St.  Peter 
and  St.  Paul,  Oswestry,  and  Oswestry  Church,  Charleston 
Priory  of  St.  Jares,  Wilts.,  land  in  Garthgynan,  (at  one 
time  the  property  of  the  Earl  of  Kent),  Rectory  of 
Knaresdale,  Northumberland,  Gedding,  Notts.,  chantry 
lands  at  Whalley,  Derby  (late  priory  of  Derby),  Stanley, 
Woodbridge,  Derby  (late  monastery  of  "  Grace  Dieu"), 
monastery  of  St.  Andrew,  Northampton.  It  is  not 
known  how  far  Elizeus's  very  modest  "  requests"  were 
complied  with.  At  present,  the  Maenan  (Abbey)  pro- 
perty is  the  only  monastic  estate  held  by  the  Wynns  of 
Glynllifon  ("Enlli"  excepted).  The  Maenan  manor  (and 
hall)  is  still  held  by  the  legitimate  descendant  of  the 
last  abbot,  Mr.  Lenthall  Kyffin  Lenthall  (p.  61). 

The  Abbey  lands,  being  extra-parochial,  are  free  of 
tithes,  as  likewise  the  meadow  lands  on  the  Carnarvon- 
shire side  of  the  Conway  river.  On  the  dissolution  of 
Maenan  Abbey,  the  beautiful  "  rood-loft"1  (or  screen), 
was  brought  to  the  Llanrwst  parish  church  (St.  Grwst, 
sometimes  called  the  "  Church  of  Restitution"),  which  is 
said  to  have  been  built  by  Rhyn  ap  Nefydd  Hardd  to 
condone  the  murder  of  Idwal  ap  Owen  Gwynedd,  at  the 
instigation  of  Nefydd  Hardd.  It  is  a  curious  fact  that 
the  "  loft"  is  placed  with  the  "  Holy  Rood",  facing  the 

1  Mr.  Harold  Hughes,  of  London  and  Bangor,  Architect,  has 
declared  this  rood-loft  to  be  of  the  fourteenth  century. 


west  instead  of  the  altar ;  and  it  is  said  that  this  was 
done  by  the  fanatical  reformers  "to  do  spite  to  the 
Papists".  The  carved  work  is  very  fine,  and  there  are 
several  portions  of  the  fretwork  above  the  arches,  under- 
neath the  loft,  that  must  have  some  meaning  in  them. 
In  the  Gwydir  Chapel,  attached  to  the  church,  is  to  be 
seen  the  stone  coffin  of  the  great  benefactor  of  the  Abbey 
of  Aberconwy,  and  also  an  effigy  of  Howel  Coetmor. 
Some  writers  will  have  it  that  the  church  was  built 
by  St.  Grwst,1  son  of  Gwaeth  Hengaer  ap  Elfin  ap 
Urien,  whose  mother  was  Euronwy,  daughter  of  Cyndno 
Eiddyn  ap  Cynwyd  Cynwydior  ap  Cynfelyn  (Cymbe- 
line).  It  is  said  that  the  church  was  burnt  in  the 
latter  part  of  the  fifteenth  century,  and  afterwards 
rebuilt.2  It  was  restored  in  1843-4,  and  a  transept  was 
added  to  it  in  1886-7. 


This  beautiful  structure  was  erected  in  the  year  1633 
by  Sir  Richard  Wynne,  of  Gwydir,  from  a  design  of 
Inigo  Jones,  and  was  for  many  years  the  burial-place  of 
the  illustrious  family  of  Gwydir.  At  the  sides  of  the 
chapel,  fixed  in  panels  of  wood,  are  several  engravings  on 
brass,  illustrative  of  the  personages  who  are  interred 
below  ;  and  in  the  east  corner  is  a  tablet  of  white  marble, 

1  Williams,  in  his  Observations  on  the,  Snowdon  Mountains,  says : 
"  Amongst   the   recluses  who  fled  to  the  Welsh   mountains,    in   the 
sixth  and  seventh  centuries,  when  the  Picts  and  Saxons  made  such 
ravages  and  havoc  in  England  and  Scotland,  we  find  one  called  Grwst 
Lledlwm,     probably    from    austerity,    for    Lled-lwm    means   poorly  or 
raggedly  clothed  ;  and  he,  it  may  be  presumed,  was  the  founder  of 
Llariwrst  Church."     This  was  500  years  before  Rhun's  time. 

2  The  first  edifice  was  burnt  down  in  the  year  1469,  on  the  occasion 
of  Earl  Herbert's  terrible  "  raid  "  through  the  Vale  of  Con  way  in  the 
interests  of  Edward  IV,  in  revenge  for  the  desolation  committed  by 
"  Davfydd  ab  Siencyn,*  of  the  Lancastrian  faction".    The  main  part  of 
the  present  church  was  built  about   1470,  and  Gwydir  Chapel  was 
added  as  a  transept,  by  Sir  Richd.  Wynn,  Bart.,  in  1633. 

*  This  Dafydd  ap  Siencyn  was  of  the  Wernfaur,  Lleyn  family,  and 
the  ancestor  of  the  late  Sir  Love  Jones  Parry,  of  Madryn. 


containing  the  following  remarkable  pedigree,  comprising 
a  period  of  500  years. 

"  This  Chapel  was  erected  A.D.  1633,  by  Sir  Eichard  Wynne  of 
Cuvdir,  in  the  County  of  Carnarvon,  Knight  .and  Baronet, 
Treasurer  to  the  High  and  Mighty  Princess  Henrietta  Maria, 
Queen  of  England,  Daughter  of  Henry  the  Fourth,  King  of  France, 
&  Wife  to  our  Sovereign  Lord  King  Charles ;  where  lyeth  buried 
his  Father  Sir  John  Wynne  of  Gwydir,  Knight  and  Baronet,  Son 
and  Heir  to  Morris  Wynne,  Son  and  Heir  ta  John  Wynne,  Son 
and  Heir  to  Meredith  Wynne,  which  three  lies  buried  in  the 
Church  of  Dolwyddelan,  witli  Tombs  over  them.  This  Meredith 
was  Son  and  Heir  to  Evan,  Sou  and  Heir  to  Robert,  Son  and  Heir 
to  Meredith,  Son  and  Heir  to  Howell,  Son  and  Heir  to  David,  Son 
and  Heir  to  Griffith,  Son  and  Heir  to  Caradock,  Son  and  Heir  to 
Roderick,  Lord  of  Anglesea,  Son  to  Owen  Gwynedd,  Prince  of 
Wales,  and  younger  brother  to  David,  Prince  of  Wales,  who 
married  Emma  Plantaginet,  sister  to  King  Henry  the  Second. 
There  succeeded  this  David  three  Princes  ;  his  nephew  Leolinus 
Magnus,  who  married  Joan  Daughter  to  King  John — David  his 
Sou,  Nephew  to  King  Henry  the  Third — and  Llewelyn,  the  last 
Prince  of  Wales  of  that  House  and  line,  who  lived  in  King 
Edward  the  Firsts  time.  Sir  John  Wynne  married  Sydney,  who 
Ivt-th  buried  here,  Daughter  of  Sir  William  Gerrard,  Knight,  Lord 
Chancellor  of  Ireland,  by  whom  he  had  issue,  Sir  John  Wynne, 
who  died  at  Lucca,  in  Italy,  Sir  Richard  Wynne,  now  living, 
Thomas  Wynne,  who  lyeth  here,  Owen  Wynne,  now  living,  Robert 
Wynne,  who  lyeth  here,  Roger  Wynne  who  lyeth  here,  William 
Wynne  now  living,  Maurice  Wynne  now  living.  Ellis  Wynne,  who 
lyeth  buried  at  Whitford,  in  the  County  of  Flint,  Henry  Wynne 
now  living,  Roger  Wynne  who  lyeth  here,  and  two  Daughters, 
Mary  now  living,  married  to  Sir  Roger  Mostyn  in  the  County  of 
Flint,  Knight,  and  Elizabeth  now  living,  married  to  Sir  John 
Bodville,  in  the  County  of  Carnarvon,  Knight." 

Beneath  this  is  a  superb  engraving  on  brass  of  Dame 
Sarah  Wynne,  one  of  the  daughters  of  the  old  Chevalier 
Sir  Thomas  Middleton,  of  Chirk  Castle,  and  wife  of  the 
above-mentioned  Sir  Richard  Wynne — she  died  June 
16th,  1671.  This  piece  of  engraving  was  executed  by 
one  William  Vaughan  in  a  style  of  elegance  not  often 
met  with,  and  may  be  justly  reckoned  among  the  first 
productions  of  the  age  in  which  he  lived. 

On  the  south  side  are  two  stately  pyramidal  columns 
of  variegated  marble,  decorated  with  martial  insignias, 
one  to  the  memory  of  Meredith  Wynne,  the  other  to 


Sir  John  Wynne  and  Sydney  his  wife ;  on  their  pedestals 
are  Latin  inscriptions  on  black  marble,  which  have  been 
thus  translated  : 

"To  the  Memory  of  Meredith  Wynne,  a  descendant  of  Owen 
Gwynedd,  Prince  of  Wales,  who,  under  happy  auspices,  founded  the 
House  of  Gwydir,  removed  and  endowed  the  Church  of  Sant  Gwy- 
ddelan,  during  the  third  Tournean  Expedition,  in  the  fifth  year  of 
Henry  the  Eighth.  He  died  in  the  month  of  March,  1525." 

"•To  the  Memory  of  John  Wynne  of  Gwydir,  Knight  and  Baronet, 
with  Sydney  the  Daughter  of  William  Gerrard,  Knight,  Chancellor,  of 
the  Kingdom  of  Ireland,  the  wife  of  his  youth,  to  whom  she  bore 
eleven  sons,  and  two  daughters  :  they  lie  here  waiting  the  appearance 
of  Christ  in  Glory." 

Between  the  above  monuments  is  a  small  tablet  of 
white  marble  to  the  memory  of  John  Wynne  ap  Meredith, 
with  a  Latin  inscription  to  the  following  effect : — 

"  John  Wynne  ap  Meredith,  an  Inheritor  of  his  Father's  virtues,  a 
just  and  pious  Man,  to  whom  Euna  his  wife  brought  five  sons  and  two 
daughters.  He  died  the  9th  of  July,  1559." 

On  the  floor  is  a  stone  effigy  in  armour,  with  the  feet 
resting  on  a  lion  couchant,  of  Howell  Coetmore  ap 
Griffith  Vychan  ap  Dafydd  Gam,  alias  Goch,  natural 
son  to  David,  Prince  of  Wales,  from  whose  descendants, 
according  to  tradition,  Gwydir  was  purchased  by  the 

Near  to  the  effigy  of  Howell  Coetmore  is  the  under- 
part  of  a  stone  coffin  in  which  Llewelyn  ap  lorwerth, 
surnamed  the  Great,  the  son-in-law  of  King  John,  was 
buried  at  the  Abbey  of  Conway  ;  to  the  coffin  is  fixed  a 
piece  of  brass  with  this  inscription  :— 

"  This  is  the  Coffin  of  Leolinus  Magnus,  Prince  of  Wales,  who  was 
buried  at  the  Abbey  of  Conway,  which  upon  the  dissolution  was  re- 
moved thence."1 

On  going  from  the  chapel  to  the  church  you  pass  over 
a  large  square  flag  of  freestone,  having  on  its  sides  a 
Latin  inscription,  thus  translated  : — 

"  To  the  Memory  of  the  Sons  of  John  Wynne  of  Gwydir,  Knight  and 
Baronet,  who  died  during  their  Father's  lifetime :  John,  Knight,  was 
buried  at  Lucca,  in  the  free  State  of  Italy,  in  the  year  of  his  age  30,  of 

1  The  lid  of  the  coffin  is  missing,  as  in  many  similar  cases. 


our  Lord  1613.  Robert,  who  had  entered  into  holy  orders,  in  the 
year  of  his  age  24,  of  our  Lord  1617.  Thomas  :  Roger  :  Thomas  :  in 
their  minority. — Death  !  A  vapour  !  Behold  !  we  have  existed." 

In  the  chancel,  between  the  reading-desk  and  the 
communion  table,  is  a  flag  of  freestone,  over  the  remains 
of  Margaret  Vaughan,  heiress  of  Caergai ;  she  was 
esteemed  the  Sappho  of  her  age,  many  of  her  poetical 
productions  are  still  extant. 

Under  the  rood-screen,  in  the  church,  is  a  Latin 
epitaph  to  the  memory  of  Griffith  Lloyd,  of  Bryniog, 
rector  of  this  parish;  this  is  said  to  have  been  written 
by  himself,  and  has  been  much  admired  for  its  singu- 
larity :  it  runs  thus  :— 

"  Once  the  undeserving  School-Master, 
Then  the  more  undeserving  Lecturer, 

And  last  of  all,  the  most  undeserving  Rector  of  this  Parish. 
Do  not  think,  speak,  or  write  anything  evil  of  the  Dead." 


The  exact  site  of  the  Abbey  is  not  known,  but  it  is 
supposed  to  have  been  at  some  distance  from  the  place 
where  the  present  old  church  stands.1  It  is  said  to  have 
been  built  in  the  sixth  century,  and  if  that  was  the  case, 
it  must  have  been  an  extensive  institution,  as  a  great 
portion  of  the  land  between  Gogarth  and  Anglesey  had 
not  then  been  submerged.  It  belonged  to  the  Bishops  of 
Bangor,  and  must  in  any  case  have  been  very  ancient,  as 
it  was  in  ruins  before  Leland's  time.  The  latter  says : 
"  Ther  is  by  Con  way  an  arme  like  a  peninsula  called 
Gogarth,  lying  against  Priestholine,  and  ther  be  the 
Ruines  of  a  Place  of  the  Bishops  of  Bangor."  The 
manor  of  Gogarth  extends  across  the  estuary-  to  the 
Conway  side.2 

The  present  church  is  dedicated  to  St.  Tudno  (sixth 
century) ;  he  was  one  of  the  sons  of  Seithinen,  King  of 
the  Plain  of  Gwyddno  Garanhir,  whose  land  was  inun- 
dated. He  was  a  saint  of  Bangor  Dunod,  at  Bano-or 

1  The  supposed  ruins  of  the  Abbey  are  still  to  be  seen  at  Gogarth 

2  Williams's  History  of  Aberconivy,"  etc. 


Is  y  Coed.  The  old  screen  in  the  church  is  of  great 
antiquity.  It  is  supposed  to  have  been  brought  from 
Gogarth  Abbey  (or  chapel).  With  considerable  proba- 
bility it  is  said  that  up  to  the  sixth  century,  when 
the  great  inundation  of  Helig  ab  Glanawg's  land  took 
place,  between  Bangorfawr  and  Trwyn-Gogarth,  all  was 
rich  meadow  laud,  and  that  the  river  Conway  must  have 
forced  its  way  direct  to  the  sea  instead  of  round  by 
Mochdre  and  Penrhyn  mawr,  its  (supposed)  original 
course.  The  late  Rev.  H.  Longueville  Jones  was  of 
opinion  that  St.  Tudno's  Church  was  of  the  eleventh 
century.  The  walls  appear  to  have  been  built  with 
alternate  courses  of  large  and  small  stones :  a  style  often 
met  with  in  early  masonry.  This  description  of  work 
extends  about  half  the  distance  between  the  east  and 
west.  The  other  half  is  not  built  in  a  similar  manner, 
which  fact  would  seem  to  indicate  that  the  two  portions 
were  built  at  different  periods.  The  building  is  67  ft.  by 
16|-  ft.  During  the  great  storm  of  January  1839,  the 
roof  was  blown  off.  After  that  a  new  and  more  con- 
venient church,  dedicated  to  St.  George,  was  erected 
in  the  (then)  small  village  of  Llandudno.  At  a  more 
recent  date  the  old  church  was  repaired,1  and  divine 
service  is  held  there  every  Sunday  during  the  season.2 


This  is  a  very  old  church.  The  original  building  was 
erected  by  (and  dedicated  to)  Cystenyn,  the  son  of 
Cynfor,  who  was  elected  to  the  royal  dignity  by  the 
Britons,  A.D.  390.  Pope  Nicholas,  in  his  taxation,  A.D. 
1291,  describes  it  as  a  chapel  of  Abergele.  It  is  possible 
it  might  have  been,  before  the  removal  of  the  Abbey  of 
Aberconwy,  a  chapel  attached  to  that  monastery. 

Llanelian  Church  is  dedicated  to  Eilianus  (Geineiad),  a 

1  The  latest  renovation  was  taken  in  hand  by  the  late  Mr.  Reece, 
of  Plas  Tudno,  as  a  thank-offering  for  the  restoration  to  health  of  his 
only  daughter,   Mrs.  Farrant.     Among  the  many  monuments  which 
stud  the  very   picturesque  churchyard  is  that  of  one  of  the  sons  of 
the  late  Mr.  John  Bright,  M.P. 

2  Williams's  History  oj  Aberconwy,"  etc. 


saint  of  the  sixth  century.  He  was  a  son  of  Gallger 
Kieddawg  ap  Cyngu,  ap  Ysbwys  ab  Cadroed  Calchfy- 
nydd.  His  mother  wa?,  Canna,  daughter  of  Tewdwr 
Mawr  ap  Eniyr  Llydaw.  He  also  founded  Llaneilian  in 


This  was  a  private  chapel  belonging  to  the  (originally) 
powerful  family  of  the  Pughs,  of  Penrhyn  Mawr.  At 
present  it  forms  a  part  of  the  farm  buildings.  It  is 
about  25  ft.  by  15  ft.  The  altar-table,  which  was  to  be 
seen  many  years  ago,  was  of  stone.  This  chapel,  by  a 
grant  of  Pope  Nicholas,  enjoyed  three-fourths  of  the 
tithes  of  Penrhyn.  The  Pughs  professed  the  Roman 
Catholic  religion  for  a  long  time  after  the  Reformation, 
and  a  priest  was  always  kept  to  officiate  in  the  chapel 
for  the  benefit  of  the  family  and  a  few  Romanist  neigh- 
bours. There  is  a  curious  tradition  with  regard  to  this 
circumstance,  current  in  the  neighbourhood,  to  the  effect 
that  the  Roman  Catholics  of  that  part  formed  a  con- 
spiracy to  put  to  death  all  the  Protestants  in  Creuddyn, 
and  it  was  arranged  for  a  body  of  men  to  arrive  on 
a  certain  night  at  a  certain  spot  indicated.  A  man 
employed  at  Gloddaeth  was  informed  by  a  girl  in  service 
at  Penrhyn  Mawr  of  what  was  going  on,  and  gave  the 
alarm.  A  messenger  was  immediately  sent  from  Glod- 
daeth for  assistance,  and  a  troop  of  horse  soon  arrived, 
and  Penrhyn  Mawr  was  surrounded.  Some  of  the 
inmates  escaped,  whilst  others  were  taken.  The  priest 
who  plotted  the  matter  escaped  for  the  time,  but  was 
subsequently  arrested  in  a  cave  in  Rhiwledur  rock. 
He  was  said  to  have  been  hanged,  drawn,  and  quartered 
in  a  field  below  the  house,  and  his  name,  Sir  William 
Guy,  is  still  traditionally  preserved.1 


This  church  still  enjoys  the  tithes  of  the  fishes  caught 
in  the  Rhos  y  Mynach  weir,  in  succession  probably  to 
the  monks  of  Aberconwy.  There  is  a  small  cell  and 

1  History  of  Aberconwy. 


well  near  the  place,  where  it  is  said  (when  it  was 
monastic  property)  a  monk  daily  prayed  for  the  success 
of  the  fishery  (p.  36). 

(The  Rev.  Venables  Williams,  Vicar,  still  claims  the 
tenth-day  catches.) 


This  is  a  very  ancient  church.  There  is  a  tradition 
that  Maelgwyn  Gwynedd  died  in  the  church  of  the 
Plague  (Y  "  Fad  felen").1 


Gwytherin  was  the  founder  of  this  church.  He  was 
the  son  of  Dragan  ap  Nadd  Hael,  a  saint  who  flourished 
in  the  sixth  century.  It  is  said  that  in  very  early  times 
a  nunnery  was  founded  here,  dedicated  to  St.  Winifred. 
There  is  a  tradition  that  St.  Winifred  was  buried  here 
after  her  (reputed)  second  death,  on  the  decease  of 
St.  Beuno  (of  Holywell) ;  according  to  tradition  she  was 
warned  by  a  voice  to  call  on  St.  Dufer  at  Bodfari ;  by 
him  she  was  directed  to  go  to  St.  Saturnus  at  Henllan, 
and  by  Saturnus'  instruction  she  went  for  a  final  retreat 
to  Gwytherin.  Here,  it  is  said,  she  founded  a  convent  of 
nuns,  and,  on  the  death  of  the  Abbess  Theonia,  succeeded 
to  the  high  charge.  By  a  miracle  wrought,  as  was 
supposed,  by  her  intercession  on  a  monk  of  Shrewsbury, 
the  abbot  of  the  latter  monastery  determined  on  the 
translation  of  her  remains  to  his  place.  Over  this 
matter  there  appears  to  have  been  great  trouble,  the 
inhabitants  of  Gwytherin  refusing  to  part  with  their 
treasure.  However,  the  aggressors  were  eventually  suc- 
cessful, and  carried  her  remains  in  triumph  to  Shrews- 
bury. There  are  in  the  churchyard  three  upright  stones, 

1  This  event  was  predicted  by  Taliesin  in  the  well-known  lines  : — 

"  Fe  ddaw  pryf  rhyfedd 
O  forfa  rhianedd,  etc.,  etc."* 

(See  Williams's  History  of  Aberconwy.) 

*  "A   strange   creature   shall   come    from    the   Morfa  (=  Marsh) 
Rhianedd".     Is  this  an  adumbration  of  the  "  germ"  theory? 

1898  4 


one  of  which  is  inscribed,  the  words  being  :  "Vimcomagli, 
til.  Seueniagli."  Many  pilgrims1  come  to  Gwytherin 
in  the  summer,  and  they  seem  to  have  a  very  great 
veneration  for  the  stones,  which  they  appear  to  identify 
with  the  nunnery.  There  was  an  old  hand-bell  in  the 
old  church,  probably  a  "  sanctus "  bell.  In  the  neigh- 
bourhood, "  Llwyn  Saint  "  is  a  suggestive  name.  The 
parish  chest,  or  "  Cyff,"  within  the  altar-rails  is  one 
of  the  oldest  in  Wales,  and  consists  of  a  single  tree- 
trunk  hollowed  out,  and  bound  with  iron  hoops,  showing 
signs  of  great  antiquity.  It  is  exactly  similar  to  "  Cyff 
Beuno  "  at  Clynnog.2 


This  was  in  the  olden  time  a  hospital  of  St.  John  of 
Jerusalem.  To  a  great  extent  it  was  used  as  an  "  asylum 
and  guard"  for  travellers  in  the  then  inhospitable  and 
uncultivated  neighbourhood,  under  the  protection  of  the 
knights  who  held  the  manor.  On  the  Order  being 
abolished,  the  "  privilege  of  sanctuary"  was  grossly 
abused,  and  it  became  a  nest  of  outlaws,  who  were 
supposed  to  consist  mostly  of  the  disbanded  ruffianly 
soldiers  of  the  "  White  and  Red  Roses".  The  traditions 
respecting  the  outrages  committed  by  these  bandits  still 
exist  in  the  neighbourhood,  and  Sir  John  Wynn3  gives 
a  graphic  account  of  the  trouble  his  great  ancestor, 
Meredydd  ab  Jeuan,  had  with  them  for  many  years. 
The  latter  eventually  obtained  permission  to  destroy 
this  "  nest  of  infamy",  and  he  appears  to  have  done  it 
very  effectually.  In  this  he  was  assisted  by  his  kinsman, 
Dafydd  ab  Siencyn  (p.  43),  the  ex-outlaw,  who  had 
been  protected  by  Meredydd  ab  Jeuan,  during  his  out- 
lawry, at  "  Garreg  y  Wialchen",  near  Gwydir. 

In  the  "  Taicroesion"  Pedigrees,  Dafydd  ab  Siencyn 
is  described  as  having  been  outlawed  for  killing  the 
"  Steward  of  the  King's  (Edward  IV)  Chamberlain". 

1  Most  of  the  above-mentioned  pilgrims  conie  from  Holywell  and 
St.  Asaph,  Manchester,  Liverpool,  etc. 
-   Pemutnt,  etc. 
•'  History  of  Gwydir  Family. 


The  outlaws,  or  rather  the  remnant  of  them,  subsequently 
settled  in  Dinas-Mawddwy,  where  they  became  the 
terror  of  the  neighbourhood.  Eventually,  after  the  tragic 
death  of  Baron  Lewis  Owen  (1555),  they  were  utterly 
exterminated.  The  present  church  was  restored  by  the 
Rt.  Hon.  Lord  Penrhyn  some  years  ago.  The  walls  of 
a  portion  of  the  old  building  were  very  substantial,  and 
it  is  possible  they  may  have  formed  a  portion  of  the 
"  Hospitium".  There  are  a  few  interesting  monuments 
in  the  church,  notably  those  of  Rhys  Mawr  ap  Mredydd, 
standard-bearer  to  Henry  VII  at  Bosworth,  another  to 
Robert  ap  Rhys,  cross-bearer  and  chaplain  to  Cardinal 
Wolsey,  and  a  third  to  Lowry,  wife  of  the  above-noted 
Rhys.  Several  names  of  places  in  the  neighbourhood 
are  suggestive  of  the  sanctity  of  the  place,  such  as  Rhyd 
y  Saint  (above  the  bridge),  and  Penrhyn  Saint.  There 
is  a  tradition  that  "  Bryn  y  cropian"  on  the  hill  (Car- 
narvonshire side),  marks  the  place  where  guilty  parties 
had  to  commence  their  penance,  by  going  on  their  hands 
and  knees  from  that  spot  to  the  sanctuary  !  Tradition 
also  points  to  the  present  house,  "  Tynyporth",  as  being 
the  entrance  into  the  Hospitium.  About  a  hundred 
years  ago  there  was  a  small  chapel  belonging  to  Llanefydd 
Church,  opposite  Pentrevoelas,  where  occasional  services 
were  held.  It  has  since  then  entirely  disappeared. 
(Some  say  it  was  known  as  "  Llan  Nefydd  fechan".)1 

Dr.  Ellis  Price,  of  Plasiolyn,  was  of  this  parish.  He 
was  greatly  disliked  and  feared  in  his  neighbourhood. 
He  took  his  LL.D  degree  at  Cambridge,  of  which 
University  lie'  was  a  member,  and  was  engaged  in  a 
controversy  with  Throgmorton,  in  a  contention  in  which 
Caius,  in  his  Antiquities  of  Cambridgeshire,  says  he  got 
the  best  of  it.  He  and  his  colleague,  Cadwaladr  ab 
Morys  of  Voelas,  managed  to  obtain  most  of  the  monastic 
lands  in  the  neighbourhood,  including  Tir  Ifan,  Tir 
Abbat,  the  livings  of  Llandrillo  yn  Rhos,  and  Llan- 
uwchlyn.  He  was  well  known  as  a  subservient  creature 
of  Leicester's  in  Elizabeth's  time. 

1  Williams's  Enwogion  Cymru. 


This  church,  which  appears  to  have  been  restored 
within  the  last  century,  was  dedicated  to  St.  Bride,  or 
Ffraid,  who  is  said  to  have  floated  "  6r  werceclon  ar  y 
douen"  (from  Ireland  on  the  waves),  and  landed  here  ; 
and  her  legend,  according  to  "  lorwerth  Vynglwyd", 
an  eminent  poet  of  the  fifteenth  century,  was  to  the 
effect  that,  at  a  time  of  great  scarcity,  through  her 
prayer  and  intercession,  the  rushes  on  the  river  banks 
became  fishes,  which  are  still  known  as  "  brwyniaid", 
and  which  are  only  found  in  three  rivers  in  Great 
Britain,  the  Conway,  the  Eden,  and  one  of  the  Scotch 
rivers.  A  sister  of  Archbishop  Williams,  wife  of  Sir 
Peter  Mutton,  or  Mytton,  Chief  Justice  of  North  Wales, 
was  buried  here. 


There  are  ruins  in  a  meadow  below  the  above  house, 
that  would  suggest  that  there  was  an  amount  of  truth 
in  the  tradition  that  there  existed  at  one  time  some  kind 
of  monastery  there.  The  last  tenant  told  a  friend  of  the 
writer  that  he  had  found  several  relics  there  in  clearing 
the  rubbish.  According  to  an  old  legend,  the  place 
was  burnt  down  by  the  bigoted  "-reformers"  in 
Henry  VIII's  time,  and  the  stones  were  carried  up  the 
hill  to  build  the  present  house.2  Several  Roman  roads 
and  British  "  bridle-paths"  passed  this  place.  One  is 
still  called  Rhiw  yr  Y  chain  ;  another  bridle-path  passed 
through  Bryndedwydd  to  Rhyd  yr  arian,  and  it  can  be 
traced  on  to  Denbigh.  This  was  used  up  to  one  hundred 
years  ago.  A  Roman  readied  to  Llynhelsi,  where  there 
was  a  tavern  formerly,  according  to  tradition.  There 
was  also  a  path  along  the  hill  above  Taurallt  to  Fedwdeg, 
and  on  to  Bwlchgarregyfrau,  and  then  to  Cwm  Pen- 
treigl,  Harddlech.  This  was  called  Dafydd  ap  Gruffydd's 

1  St.  Ffraid(Leian),  was  the  daughter  of  Cadwithai,  or  Cadwthlach 
Wyddel.      The  Irish  accounts  state  that  she  was  born    at   Fochard, 
County  of  Louth,  A.D.  453  (Williams's  Eminent  Welshmen). 

2  From   MSS   belonging  formerly  to  Price  Downes,  Esq.,  of  Hendre- 
scethyn,  Bettsw  y  Coed,  etc. 


path.  In  clearing  one  of  these  roads  or  paths,  the  rocks 
underneath  were  found  greatly  worn  by  the  traffic.  About 
one  hundred  years  ago  there  was  also  a  blacksmith's  shop 
on  the  side  of  one  of  the  above  roads.  These  paths,  and 
roads  all  passing  this  place,  would  lead  us  to  suppose 
that  there  was  a  necessity  for  a  house  for  rest  and  refresh- 
ment, monastic  or  otherwise.  The  old  parish  church  of 
Llantyddid  was  also  situated  in  this  neighbourhood. 
Sir  John  Wynn  of  Gwydir,1  or  an  ancestor  of  his, 
obtained  permission  to  divide  the  parish,  which  was  very 
extensive,  adding  the  larger  portion  to  Dolwyddelen  and 
the  smaller  to  Penmachno.  One  tradition  connects  this 
place  with  Bethgelert  Priory. 

There  are  no  other  remains  in  the  Lledr  Valley  besides 
the  above  named.  There  is,  however,  a  place  above  the 
village  of  Dolwyddelen  having  the  suggestive  name  of 
"  Hafod  Gwenllian"  (White  Nun). 

There  are  traditions  to  the  effect  that  there  were 
"  cells"  (or  other  small  institutions),  at  Cynwal,  Rhiwbach, 
and  Cwmtybugail,  in  the  hills  above  Cwm  Penmachno. 

The  original  church  of  Penmachno2  was  dedicated 
to  St.  Tyddid,  and  the  building  lay  about  twenty  or 
thirty  yards  to  the  north  of  the  present  church.  A 
portion  of  the  walls  was  uncovered  in  making  some  exca- 
vations some  years  ago.  The  present  church  was  restored 
by  the  Rt.  Hon.  Lord  Penrhyn,  about  thirty  years  ago. 


St.  Curig3  was  said  to  be  a  son  of  Lleudden,  of 
Edinburgh,  who  is  registered  amongst  the  Welsh  or 

1  The  present  church  was  moved  from  the  hill  above,  called  Bryn  y- 
bedd,  by  M'redydd  ap  Jeuan  of  Penannen,  Sir  John  Wynn's  ancestor, 
to  its  present  position,  in  the  fifteenth  century. 

2  The  celebrated   Bishop  Morgan,  of  St.  Asaph,  who   translated  the 
Bible  into  Welsh,  was  born  at  Wybr-nant,  about  a   mile  up   in  the 
hills   above    the    Bwlch    y    Mawr  river.      Pennant    states    that    the 
Dolwyddelen  church  was    once   an    impropriation   of    the   Abbey   of 

3  Some  authorities  are  of  opinion  that  St.  Curig  founded  the  old 
church   of   Llangurig    (Mont.),    which  was    restored    some    years    ago 
through  the  munificence  of  the  late  Chevalier  Lloyd,  of  Clochfaen.    It  is 
possible  that  Curig  (Lwyd),  or  the  Blessed,  might  have  founded  both. 


British  saints.  The  tradition  is  that  he  landed  at 
Aberystwyth,  and  subsequently  settled  at  Capel  Cung, 
where  he  built  the  original  chapel.  The  present  church 
owes  its  endowment  to  the  "Queen  Anne's  Bounty." 
One  place  near  has  the  successive  name  of  "  Gell  y 
Mynach".  The  old  church  on  the  west  side  of  the 
Llygwy  is  a  "  chapel-of-ease"  to  the  parish  of  Llandegai. 
The  new  church  was  built  a  few  years  ago  through  the 
liberality  of  the  Penrhyn  and  Gwydir  families,  and  is 
situated  in  the  parish  of  Llanrhychwyn.  About  two 
miles  lower  down  the  valley  there  are  evidences  of  the 
existence  of  a  large  building  at  one  time.  The  remains 
are  to  be  seen  in  a  field  belonging  to  Bryngefeilin, 
opposite  Dolgam.  The  tradition  that  it  was  of  monastic 
origin  is  rather  obscure,  and  Mr.  Lysons  (who  carefully 
examined  the  place)  and  other  antiquaries  were  of 
opinion  that  it  bore  a  far  greater  resemblance  to  a 
Koman  building.  The  tradition  respecting  the  place 
will  always  remain  doubtful.  In  clearing  the  ruins  some 
years  ago,  lead  piping  and  other  relics  were  found. 

BETHGELERT  PRIORY  (pp.  36,  61). 

Although  this  monastery  is  not  situated  in  the  Vale  of 
Conway,  there  can  be  no  great  harm  in  giving  a  few 
particulars  respecting  it,  especially  as  there  is  a  strong 
probability  that  there  was  some  connection  between  it 
and  the  Abbey  of  Aberconwy.  In  the  year  1284  the 
Priory  of  Beddgelert  was  accidentally  burnt  down,  and 
the  charters  and  other  valuable  documents  were  destroyed, 
so  that  it  is  impossible  to  give  a  reliable  account  of  the 
place  previous  to  the  above  date.  Its  destruction  was 
considered  a  great  calamity  at  the  time.  Anian,  Bishop 
of  Bangor,  informed  Edward  I  of  the  destruction  of  the 
monastery,,  and  begged  of  him  to  rebuild  the  whole 
structure,  and  to  confirm  the  lost  charter.  The  King 
acceded  to  the  request.1  Einion  ap  Engan,  the  Bishop 
of  Bangor  (1268),  was  in  great  favour  with  the  King, 
and  received  many  gifts  and  privileges  from  him.  In 
1280  the  latter  gave  him  a  house  in  London  called 

1  AlUyd  Eifion. 


Bangor  House,  in  Shoe  Lane,  near  St.  Andrew's 
Church,  Holborn.  The  subsequent  history  of  the 
Bedd^elert  monastery  is  not  well  known,  and  is  mostly 


This  place,  which  is  now  the  property  of  J.  E.  Scott- 
Bankes,  Esq.,  of  Sychtyn,  is  at  present  a  farm-house. 
There  is  a  tradition  that  there  was,  in  old  times,  a  chapel 
or  chantry  there,  probably  in  connection  with  one  of  the 
larger  abbeys.  There  is  a  place  near  the  house  called 
Buarth-tal-Eglwys.  The  fishery  of  the  Beaver  Pool,  on 
the  Conway,  belonged  to  the  farm,  and  probably  the 
salmon  trap  on  the  Lledr  also,  at  one  time.  The  Pool  is 
rented  from  Mr.  Scott-Bankes  by  Lord  Willoughby 
d'Eresby.1  It  is  said  that  part  of  the  present  house 
formed  a  portion  of  the  chantry. 


It  is  very  difficult  to  decide  whether  the  Iddon  above- 
mentioned  was  Iddon  ap  Ner,  who  lived  in  the  sixth 
century,  and  was  killed  in  battle  by  Maelgwyn  Gwynedd, 
or  Iddon  ap  Yuyr,  of  Gwent,  Prince  of  South  Wales, 
who  defeated  the  Saxons  on  the  occasion  of  their  attacks 
upon  South  Wales,  and  in  commemoration  of  his  victory 
gave,  as  a  thank-offering,  properties  in  the  parishes 
of  Llanarth.  Llandeilo,  Porthlalawg,  etc.,  to  the  Bishop- 
ric of  Llandaff.  A  great  deal  has  been  written  about 
the  origin  of  the  word  "  Bettws."  Some  are  of  opinion 
that  it  refers  to  the  religious  institutions  founded  by 
St.  Beuno,  and  that  it  is  a  corruption  of  the  word 
"  Beatus."  Others  are  of  opinion  that  the  name  is 
derived  from  the  word  "Abbatis,"  an  appendage  to  a 
monastery  or  abbey.  The  most  popular  explanation 
given  is  that  the  word  means  a  "Bead  house",  or 
"  Bader-dy",  signifying  a  hospital  or  almshouse,  "  where 
the  poor  prayed  for  their  founders  and  benefactors." 
Professor  Rhys,  however,  seems  to  doubt  the  explana- 

1  Now  the  Earl  of  Ancaster. 


tion.  The  name  occurs  very  frequently  in  North  and 
South  Wales,  and  the  fact  of  their  being  generally 
placed  within  seven  or  eight  miles  of  some  large  monastic 
establishment  would  suggest  the  idea  that  they  were 
sites  of  hostels,  or  rest-houses,  for  the  barefooted  monks 
and  friars.  The  old  Church  of  St.  Michael  is  of  small 
dimensions,  and  is  said  to  have  been  built  in  1219.  It 
was  partly  restored  in  1843. 

There  are  no  ruins  in  the  neighbourhood. 


This  was  a  chapel-of-ease  to  the  church  of  Llanrwst, 
and  was  dedicated  to  St.  Germain  (or  Gannon),  one 
of  the  early  missionaries  of  the  British  Church.  He 
was  the  son  of  Rhedyn,  otherwise  Kidicus  or  Rhedygus, 
and  uncle  to  Emyr  Llydaw.  Some  years  ago  an  agree- 
ment was  made  to  allocate  a  certain  portion  of  the  tithes 
of  the  parish  of  Llanrwst  to  the  endowment  of  Capel 
Garmon,  which  is  now  a  parish  by  itself.  In  addition  to 
the  tithes,  it  is  endowed  with  a  grant  of  land  made 
by  Mr.  Thomas  Wynne,  of  Llwynan,  in  1676. 


Llanrhychwyn  was  the  original  parish  church,  and 
it  is  said  that  Llewellyn  the  Great  built  the  Trefriw 
church,  St.  Mary's,  as  a  chapel-of-ease,  in  the  thirteenth 
century.  The  first-named  is  considered  one  of  the  oldest 
in  Wales,  and,  fortunately,  the  "  demon  restorer !"  has 
not  been  allowed  to  desecrate  the  place  up  to  the  present 
time.  St.  Rhychwyn  was  the  son  of  Helig  ab  Glanawg, 
who  lived  in  the  sixth  century.  After  the  submersion 
of  Helig's  land  between  Penmaen  Mawr  and  Anglesey, 
St.  Rhychwyn,  together  with  his  brothers,  entered 
upon  a  mission  amongst  the  survivors  of  that  terrible 
inundation  (Williams's  Snowdon  Mountains,  and  Cymru)1. 

1  The  celebrated  Thomas  Williams  (better  known  as  Sir  Thomas 
Williams),  a  doctor  of  medicine,  linguist,  historian,  genealogist, 
and  later  in  life  (it  is  said)  a  priest,  lived  at  Trefriw.  He  was  descended 
on  one  side  from  Ednowain,  and  on  the  other  from  a  natural  daughter 
of  M'redydd  ap  Jeuan,  of  Gwydir.  He  was  an  M.A.  of  Brasenose 


Of  the  other  churches  which  existed  before  the 
Reformation  not  much  is  known.  Caerhun  and  Llanbedr 
seem  very  old.  The  former  is  built  in  the  north-east 
corner  of  the  Roman  "  lines  of  circumvallation",  within 
Caerhun  Park.  St.  Michael's  Church,  Eglwysbach,  was 
founded  by  a  son  of  Carwed.  It  was  probably  originally 
a  small  monastic  chapel,  as  there  is  a  tradition  that  the 
founder  died  within  the  tower  of  the  original  chapel. 
Llangelynin1  Old  Church  has  only  had  occasional  services 
held  for  over  forty  years,  and  there  is  now  a  new  church 
in  a  more  convenient  position.  Gyffin  Church  also  shows 
signs  of  great  antiquity.  (The  last  Abbot  of  Maenan 
Abbey  was  also  Rector  of  Llanddoget,  near  Llanrwst). 


According  to  tradition,  this  parish  was  formerly  an 
outlying  portion  of  the  parish  of  Llanefydd.  The 
original  name  was  "  Tir  yr  Abad".  Rees,  in  his  Welsh 
Saints,  says  the  parish  was  also  called  "  March  Aled" 
and  "  Capel  y  Foelas".  It  is  possible  that  it  might  have 
been  formed  into  a  separate  parish  on  the  dissolution  of 
the  monastery  of  Maenan.  The  present  church  is  com- 
paratively new. 

In  bringing  this  paper  to  a  conclusion,  the  writer  cannot 
help  expressing  his  regret  that  the  scantiness  of  reliable 
information,  now  existing,  respecting  the  local  monastic 
institutions,  has  necessitated  his  adding  a  great  deal  of 
extraneous  matter.  From  beginning  to  end  (in  most 
cases),  he  has  had  to  rely  to  a  great  extent  upon  tradi- 
tions, whatever  their  value  may  be.  Undoubtedly,  great 
care  was  taken,  at  the  time  of  the  "  dissolution",  to 
destroy  every  kind  of  evidence  that  might,  by  any 
possibility,  prove  favourable  to  the  inmates  of  the 
various  monastic  establishments.  In  spite  of  these  pre- 
cautions, many  valuable  MSS.  were  saved  from  the 
wrecks,  and  are  now  to  be  found  at  the  British  Museum, 
the  "  Bodleian",  Oxon.,  and  other  repositories,  which  bear 

1  Celynin  was  one  of  the  sons  of  Helig  ap  Glanawg.  He  founded 
this  church,  and  also  Llangelynin,  Merioneth. 


eloquent  witness  to  the  value  of  the  monasteries  in 
keeping  up  learning,  science,  and  art  in  an  age  of 
darkness  and  savagery. 

The  writer  has  included  the  churches  in  his  notice,  as 
a  great  number  of  them  were  originally  chapels,  cells,  or 
chantries  in  connection  with  the  monasteries. 


From  Harleian  MSS.,  published  by  the  Camden  Society. 

Edward  I,  in  1289,  moved  the  monastery  to  Maenan  (with  the 
consent  of  Pope  Nicholas  IV,  who  issued  a  Bull  authorising  the 
removal).  Not  only  did  he  grant  additional  lands  to  the  monks,  but 
gave  them  large  sums  for  the  building  of  the  new  Abbey.  Another 
grant,  "advocatio",  of  the  church  of  Eglwyswath  (Eglwysbach)  was 
allowed  by  the  Bishop  of  St.  Asaph  (Asaven),  he  to  be  compensated 
by  a  gift  in  Rhuddlan. 

The  grant  to  a  certain  Tuderius  ap  Garwithe  of  land  at  Creuddyn,  in 
recompense  for  land  at  Penlasson,  given  to  the  monks. 

Land  in  Kevyn  Kelynock,  four  acres  (Anglesey,  W.). 

In  Bryn  y  Franc. 

In  land  of  Gruff,  ab  Robyn. 

Land  where  house  of  Lord  David  was  formerly  in  Bwlth1  y  Gerwin 
in  Llettys  Clochydd,  in  bren  y  gofe  (?  Eglwysfach). 

In  dyfren  between  lands  of  Grif :  ap  Robyn,  and  those  of  David  ap 
Tona,  which  are  adjacent  to  Gwerglodd  y  Thwalley  (Gwalia). 

Land  between  lands  of  Hugh  Conway  and  Grufl':  Gethin. 

Land  between  Llew'n  ab  Jeuan  ap  Eg'n,  and  Erwrgroes,  for  granary 
in  Llemdive  (Llanddewi  ?). 

Land  in  Seiont  for  tenement  of  John  ap  Jeuan  ap  Howel,  between 
lands  of  Gruff,  ap  Robyn,  and  David  ap  Tudor,  taylor,  Kevyn  Kely- 
nocke.  (The  above  is  probably  an  account  of  land  purchased  or  given 
to  the  new  Abbey.) 

Harleian  MSS.  "Bodleian",  Oxon. 

An  agreement  on  the  part  of  the  Abbot  follows  the  MSS.,  for  certain 
rights  and  privileges — the  right  of  wreckage,  crossing  the  ferries  of 
Menai,  etc. 

Among  other  names — the  grange  of  Crethyn,2  boundaries  to  be  :— 
ascent  from  Conway  up  to  the  Mountain  to  Abercambwll,  where  the 
river  Camogan  falls  to  river  Conway,  then  along  that  river  from  Cur- 
gonau  up  to  fount  of  Tangwre,  from  that  point  or  source,  along  high 

1  Bwlch.  2  Creuddyn. 


road  up  Rutllwydierthe,1  then  along  a  small  stream  to  river  Gwyden- 
gyrig,  then  up  along  that  river  to  the  small  stream  which  descends 
from  Dewlwyn,  then  to  Graslwy,  and  Chwydnant,2  and  so  straight  to 
Pwll  in  the  middle  of  Genarwen,*  then  to  Pwll  in  middle  of  Gwenyd 
bythgeue,  and  so  to  Dynon  yr  heol,  then  to  Morfa  Haelyrth,  then  to 
Olawdd,  near  the  workmen's  houses,  then  to  the  head  of  Crwy  Ranallen, 
then  to  river  Erythlyn,  then  to  Wern  bwys,  and  Pwllbride,  and  then 
to  Nantywrach,  then  down  to  Morfa,  which  is  called  Gwenuce,4  then 
to  the  Bwlch-cho,  then  to  Mava,  which  lies  between  Gwern  Elanc  and 
Garth  y  Manellt,  then  to  the  water  called  Balin  Llechant,  and  so  along 
Shallow  Reach,  then  to  Morfa,  called  Gwernyfaenan,  and  along 
stream  to  Pwllydon,  and  to  Conway,  and  narrow  stream  of  Conway 
to  Abercambwll. 

Harleian  MSS.,  "  Bodleian",  Oxon. 

July  24th,  1186.      Monastery  of  Aberconwy,  founded  in  the  Bishop- 
rick  of  Bangor,  in  the  reign  of  Henry  II. 

The  following  places  given  by  Llewelyn  to  monks. 

Killinioc  and  surrounding  district. 


Abbey  to  be  built  out  of  Talepont  (Talybont1?). 

Witnesses  :  Owyn  ap  Ednywan. 
Teg  ap  Robert. 
Cad  wen  Torwerth's  son. 
Given  at  Porthaethwy.  Howel,  son  of  Idris. 


£    s.    d. 

Island  of  Anglesey  Cowrnoylis  .  .1320 

Bodged  wid  .  .  .  .     14     6     0 

Killyniock  (Celynog  ?)  .     10  16     8 
Pennrynedd             .                  .                  .  4  13     4 

For  building  reservoirs  in  manor  of  Cowrnoylis    .       0  10     0 

One  te'n  for  moniscus  ( wages'?)  .  .050 

KaeMawr  .  .  .200 

Naulwynayn  .  .  .  .     21   18     9 

Come      .  .  .  .  .500 

Nankall  .  .  .  .  .200 

Redenoc  Velyn       .  .  .  .168 

Ardle  Mynathe  (Mynach  ?)    .  .  .      14     0     0 

Maynan.  .  .  .  .900 

Creuthyn  .  .  .  1   13     4 

Te'n  for  Bangor      .  .  .  .068 

For  Chester  .  .  .068 

For  building  a  Ventriculus. 
Ten'  for  Conway. 

1  Rhydlwydiarth.  2  Chwyddnant. 

3  Genawrwaen.  4  Gwaenys. 


For  building  reservoir  near  monastery  church  — 

de  Vag    . 

St.  Patricius  (Cemmaes,  Anglesey  ?)      . 

Rose  (Rhos  ?) 

Conway  . 

Capel  of  Gyfiche  (Gyfylchi  ?)  . 

For  Comot  Mevenith  (Myfwydd) 

,,          Penarth 
Cwm  Ystwyth 

Comolleuthur  (Cwmyllaethur) 
Aberde-honwy,  Cam  Keu 
Morfa  bychan 

Aber  Myn'y  .  . 

Church  of  Liang wat 
„         Pencarrek 
Penarth  . 

Hanbyniok  .  .  . 

Morfa  Mawr 
Morfa  Vychir  (Bychan) 
Y  Dywarchen 

Commot  Deuddor  (Deuddwr). 

The  Abbot  of  Conway  held  temporary  possessions  in  the  diocese  of 
St.  Asaph,  1291,  to  the  amount  of  £26  2s.  4d.,  and  in  that  of  Bangor 
to  £37  6s.  80?.,  besides  "  spiritualities  "  in  the  latter  to  the  amount  of 
£13  6*.  Sd. ;  total,  £76  15s.  6d.  In  26th  Hen.  VIII,  Revenues  of 
Conway  (and  Maenan)  Abbeys  amounted  to  £162  15s.  In  gross  to 
£179  10s.  Wd. 

Harleian  MSS.,  "  Bodleian",  Oxon. 

Hugh  Price,  Abbot  of  Conway,  was  buried  at  Saffron  Walden,  in 
Essex,  1538. 

Ibid.,  p.  696,  fol.  89. 

This  contains  the  "  Narratio  placite  de  quo  warranto  super  libertati- 
bus  Abbatis  de  Conwy."  Edward  III. 

Ibid.,  p.  433,  fol.  175. 

Contains  a  warrant  to  the  farmers,  etc.,  belonging  to  the  monastery 
to  pay  their  rent  to  Griffin  Goghe  (Goch  ?),  the  Prior,  during  the 
controversy  between  David  Winchcombe  and  David  Lloyd  for  the 
office  of  Abbot,  dated  Rich.  III.  The  document  is  published  in 
extenso  in  the  Cambrian  Arch,  of  1882  (p.  70). 

12  marks 

5  „ 
10      „ 



20     0     0 

20     0  10 



6  13     4 
1   13     4 

4  13  0 
10     4  0 
20     0  0 
10     0  0 

28  tro'c 





5  nobles 



Harleian  MS.,  "Bodleian",  Oxon.,  p.  433,  fol.  175. 

The  Abbot  had  leave  to  purchase  600  marks'  worth  of  land  in 
Worcestershire.  David  ap  Owen,  Abbot,  1st  Hen.  VIII;  Hugh 
Price,  Abbot,  buried  at  Saffron  Walden  (see  above).  David  ap  Owen 
was  Abbot  of  Ystrad  Farchell,  or  (as  others  say)  Vale  Crucis,  before 
he  came  to  Maenan.  He  was  afterwards  appointed  Bishop  of  St. 

In  1301  the  English  Prince  of  Wales,  afterwards  Edw.  II,  came 
down  to  Aberconwy,  where  he  received  the  homage  of  Einion,  Bishop 
of  Bangor,  and  David,  Abbot  of  Maenan. 


The  last  Abbot  of  Aberconwy  (Maenan)  Abbey  was  Richard  ap 
Rhys,  or  Kyffin,  who  had  a  pension  of  £20  per  annum  and  the  living 
of  Cerrigydruidion  for  giving  up  possession  of  the  Abbey. 

Camb.  Archceologia. 

"  Of  the  old  Abbey  of  Maenan  not  a  trace  remains.  With  respect 
to  the  Kyffins  of  Maenan  Hall,  Sir  Dafydd  Kyffin,  a  priest,  also  called 
Rector  of  Llanddoget,  was  grand-nephew  to  Richard  ap  Rhys  or 
Kyffin,  Abbot  of  Conway.  It  would  seem  probable  that,  like  the 
Pennants,  this  family  came  from  a  monk  "  deraigne"  (and  consequently 
allowed  to  marry  by  an  edict  of  the  Pope)  (p.  42),  who  secured 
part  of  the  lands  of  this  convent  or  abbey  at  the  dissolution,  and 
having  married,  founded  a  nourishing  family.  It  must  be  confessed, 
by  all  fair  and  impartial  judges,  that  the  Welsh  clergy  did  not  observe 
very  strictly  the  disciplinary  rule  of  celibacy  imposed  upon  the 
western  Church  ;  and  it  must  be  very  questionable  whether  the  enforce- 
ment of  such  a  law,  attended  with  so  many  and  so  grave  scandals  as  it 
was  in  this  country,  and  is  still  in  others,  is  in  any  way  conducive  to 
the  spreading  and  welfare  of  Christianity,  or  counterbalances  the 
advantages  which  a  celibate  priesthood  may  possess." 

It  is  said  that  Richard  ap  Rhys,  or  Kyffin,  received,  in  payment 
of  his  bad  faith  in  surrendering  the  Abbey  of  Maenan,  license  to 
break  his  priestly  engagements  and  vow  of  celibacy  (see  above). 

King  John  forced  Llewelyn  to  treat  the  monks  of  Aberconwy 
with  respect,  and  gave  him  his  daughter  Joan  to  wife,  1206.  Prince 
Llewelyn  was  buried  in  the  monastery  of  Aberconwy,  before  the  high 
altar.  His  coffin  was  removed  to  the  new  monastery  at  Maenan,  and 
eventually,  on  the  dissolution  of  that  monastery,  to  the  parish  church 
of  Llanwrst,  where  it  may  now  be  seen  (p.  45). 


There  is  a  tradition  that  great  opposition  was  offered  to  the  surrender 
of  the  emoluments  of  the  above  Priory  into  the  hands  of  the  Commis- 
sioners, ending  in  fighting  and  bloodshed  in  the  Nannor  and  other 
districts.  A  full  account  is  to  be  found  in  the  History  of  the  Families 
of  Hafod  gargog,  Dolfinz  yn  Nannor,  and  Cae  Dafydd. 

Bishop   Einion    of    Bangor   describes   the    Priory   thus : — "  Ty   y 


Fendegedig  Fair  yn  Eryri,  oedd  yr  hynaf  yn  holl  Gymru,  oddigerth 
Enlli  (Bardsey),  ynys  y  Saint."  The  particular  date  of  the  foundation 
of  St.  Mary's  Priory  is  lost  in  obscurity,  but  tradition  points  to  its 
having  existed  since  the  third  century.  If  that  is  true,  Bishop  Anian 
(or  Einion)  must  have  been  correct  in  his  description  of  the  monastery. 
A  portion  of  the  old  walls  were  in  existence  up  to  1830,  when  they 
wore  pulled  down  by  some  sacrilegious  persons !  An  inscribed  stone 
was  rescued  from  the  ruins  by  the  late  Mr.  John  Jones,  of  Glangwynant. 
An  English  gentleman  who  was  staying  in  the  neighbourhood  gave 
him  a  handsome  present  for  preserving  the  memento,  and  told  him  that 
the  inscription  implied  that  the  place  was  built  (or  rebuilt)  in  the 
seventh  century.  There  is  a  small  well  not  far  from  the  old  site, 
which  still  goes  by  the  name  of  "  Ffynon  Fair".  Pennant  asserts  that 
he  had  in  his  possession  a  copy  of  the  ancient  seal  of  the  monastery, 
on  which  was  delineated  the  effigies  of  the  Virgin  and  Child.  It  was 
dated  1531.  Owen  Gwynedd  endowed  the  Priory  with  lands  in 
"  Tref  y  Beirdd",  in  the  "  Cwmwd"  of  Menai.  Llewelyn  ap  lorwerth, 
and  Llewelyn  ap  Gruff,  and  Dafydd  ap  Llewelyn,  also  added  to  the 
endowments.  In  rebuilding  the  Priory,  1284-90,  it  is  said  that  the 
stones  used  in  making  the  arches  were  brought  from  Anglesey,  and 
the  whole  building  was  of  a  very  substantial  description.  There  is 
also  a  tradition  that  the  stones  were  brought  up  to  Pont  Aberglaslyn 
in  small  boats.  Henry  VIII  brought  the  Priory  into  connection  with 
the  monastery  of  Chertsey1  (Surrey),  and  afterwards  it  was  given  to 
the  Abbey  of  Bisham  (Berks).  The  value  at  the  time  of  the  dissolu- 
tion of  the  Priory  was  £68  3s.  Sd.  Edward  VI  gave  all  the  lands 
belonging  to  the  Priory  to  Robert  ab  Hugh  Bodville,  of  Lleyn.  The 
monastery  was  of  the  Augustinian  Order. 

1  The  Abbey  of  Ohertsey  possessed  £744  per  annum,  although  it 
contained  only  fourteen  monks. 



BY  THOMAS   GRAY,  ESQ.,  J.P.,  M.  INST.  C.E. 
(Read  May  20th,  1903.) 


PART    I. 

N  this  paper,  the  subject  of  which  was 
suggested  to  me  by  Dr.  Birch,  I  confine 
myself  to  the  Granges  of  the  Abbey  in 
the  Parish  of  Margam,  although  the 
Abbey  possessed  several  granges  outside 
the  parish. 

If  the  Norman  Conquest  of  Glamorgan 
had  not  occurred,  it  is  probable  that  the  Abbey  of 
Margam  would  not  have  existed.  Sir  Robert  Fitz- 
Hamon,  the  leader  of  the  Norman  knights  who  wrested 
the  Lordship  of  Glamorgan  from  Jestyn  ap  Gwrgant,  was 
Count  of  Corbeil  and  Baron  of  Thorigny  and  Granville. 
"  Some  doo  affirme  that  he  was  Lord  of  Astreuile  in 
Normandie,"  says  H.  Lhoyd,  in  his  History  of  Cambria. 
His  father  was  Hamo  Dentatus,  sixth  Earl  of  Corbeil. 
The  family  of  Granavilla  is  traced  to  Rollo,  first 
Scandinavian  conqueror  of  Normandy. 

The  manner  of  the  winning  of  the  Lordship  was  shortly 
in  this  wise:  In  A.D.  1090  Cadivor,  the  son  of  Collwyn 
(Calhoyn,  in  Lhoyd's  History  of  Cambria,  1578),  Lord  of 
Dyvet,  died,  and  his  sons  Llewellyn  and  Eneon1  moved 

1  References  :  Miss  Talbot's  MSS.,  thus  (T,  73) ;  Mr.  Clark's  Carlo:, 
thus  (C.  DXXXLXXIV). 

2  Kin  ion  ap  Collwyn. 


Griffith,  son  of  Meredyth,  to  make  war  against  Prince 
Rees  ap  Theodor1;  but  Rees  put  them  to  flight,  killing 
Gruffyth.  Eneon  fled  to  Jestyn,  Lord  of  Morgan  we, 
who  likewise  was  in  rebellion  against  Rees  ap  Theodor, 
and  promised  on  condition  to  marry  Jestyn's  daughter. 
Eneon  having  been  in  England,  and,  knowing  the  English 
nobility,  proposed  to  Jestyn  that  the  aid  of  the  Normans 
be  sought  against  Rees  ;  so  Eneon  went  to  England,  and 
was  the  means  of  bringing  into  Glamorgan  Sir  Robert 
Fitz-Hamon  and  twelve  other  knights  and  a  great  army 
of  Normans.  The  Norman  army  and  that  of  Jestyn 
burned  and  spoiled  Rees's  land,  and  destroyed  his  people. 
This  so  grieved  Rees,  that  he  suddenly  got  his  army 
together,  and  met  them  not  far  from  Brecknock :  where,  in 
the  terrible  battle,  he  was  slain. 

So  Fitz-Hamon  became  possessed,  for  his  share  of  the 
spoils,  of  Cardiff  and  Kenfig  Castles  and  adjacent  lands, 
being  the  body  of  the  Lordship  of  Glamorgan  of  which 
Margam  was  part,  and  he  styled  himself  Prince  of 

The  family  of  Granavilla  seems  to  have  been  a  pious 
one  ;  for  Sir  Robert's  brother  and  knightly  companion 
founded  and  endowed  Neath  Abbey ;  and,  later,  Sir 
Robert  Fitz-Hamon's  daughter  and  heiress  Mabel2  mar- 
ried Robert,  Earl  of  Gloucester,  natural  son  of  King 
Henry  I,  by  Nest,  daughter  of  Prince  Rees  ap  Tewdwr  ; 
and  they  determined  to  grant  part  of  her  dower  lands  to 
the  service  of  God,  and  to  the  monks  of  Clairvaux  and 
the  Cistercian  Order.  And  thus  it  came  about  that  the 
Cistercian  monks  came  to  Margam,  and  built  their  granges, 
and  farmed  the  lands  around. 

The  lands  given  by  Robert,  Earl  of  Gloucester,  and 
Mabel,  or  Mabilia,  his  wife,  to  the  monks  of  Clairvaux, 
are  described  as  being  between  the  Kenfig  river  and  the 
further  bank  of  further  Afan. 

1  Rhys  ap  Tewdwr. 

2  Fitz-Hamon  is  said  by  some  to  have  had  but  one  daughter,  Mabel, 
sometimes  called  Sybil,  by   others  four ;  and  as   two   embraced   the 
religious    life,  and  the   other  may  have  died,    practically,  he  had  but 
one  daughter  living  in  the  world.     Dr.  Birch  says  two  of  his  daughters, 
Cicely  and  Hawise,  became  the  Abbesses  of  Shaftesbu  ry  and  Wilton. 


The  gift  to  the  monks  of  these  lands  had  for  object  the 
founding  of  an  Abbey  thereon.  The  text  of  the  first 
charter,  which  is  unfortunately  not  in  existence,  is  pre- 
served us  in  an  Inspeximus  of  certain  charters  by  Edward 
le  Despenser,  Lord  of  Glamorgan  and  Morgan,  dated 
July  13th,  A.D.  1358,  of  an  Inspeximus  by  Hugh  le  De- 
spenser, son  and  heir  of  Hugh  le  Despenser,  Lord  of 
Glamorgan  and  Morgan,  and  Alianora,  his  wife,  at  Cardiff 
Castle,  October  9th,  A.D.  1338. 

In  this  document  Earl  William  notifies  to  the  Bishop 
Nicholas  of  Llandaff,1  that  he  has  confirmed  the  gift 
which  Robert,  his  father,  gave  to  the  monks  of  Clair- 
vaux  : — 

"  Willelmus  comes  Gloucestrie  Nicholao  Landavensi  episcopo  et 
vicecomiti  suo  de  Glamorgan  et  omnibus  baronibus  suis  et  homini- 
bus  et  amicis  Francis  et  Anglis  et  Wallensibus  salutem." 

"  Sciatis  me  concessisse  et  hac  mea  carta  confirmasse  illam 
donacionem  quam  Robertas  comes  Gloucestrie  pater  meus  et 
Mabilia  comitissa  mater  mea  pro  sua  suorumque  salute  dederunt 
monachis  de  Clara valle  ,  scilicet  totam  terram  que  est  inter 
Kenefeg2  et  Aven3  ulteriorem  que  est  ad  occidentem  heremitagii 
Theodorici  .  sicut  predicte  aque  descendant  de  montanis  .  hanc 
totam  terram  concedo  predictis  monachis  sicut  vadit  per  montana  . 
a  sursa  scilicet  aque  de  Kenfeg'  inter  sursam  Rudelf  et  Gethlifret 
usque  in  Redekewelthi  .  id  est  in  vadum  Kewelthi  in  Avenam  .  in 
bosco  .  et  in  piano  in  pratis  .  et  pasturis  .  et  aquis  .  in  moris  et 
mariscis  .  piscarias  eciam  de  Avena  totas  .  ut  nemo  ex  altera  parte 
eas  impediat  .  nee  mittat  manum  ad  piscandum  in  tota  Avena  nisi 
per  illos." 

1  A.D.  1149-1183. 

2  Kenefeg,  Cefn-y-Figen,  the  ridge  above  the  bog  or  swamp.     Just 
half  a  mile  east-south-east  of  the  bridge  of  the  Roman  road  Heol-y- 
troedwyr  ("  the  road  of  the  foot-soldiers"),  are  some  slight  remains  of 
Kenfig  Castle. 

3  Aven.     Afan  River.     The  town  on  its  west  bank  is  called  Aber- 
avon,  correctly  Aberafan,  the  single  "f  "  in  Welsh  having  the  sound  of 
the  English  " v."     Avan  is  often  confounded  with  Avon,  a  river;  Avan 
is  quite  another  word.    Aberavan,  or  Aberafan,  is  derived  from  Aber,  a 
construction  of  aberw,  a  confluence  of  water,  the  junction  of  water,  the 
fall  of  a  lesser  river  into  a  greater  one  or  into  the  sea.     Avan  is  a  com- 
pound of  A  or  Ab  and  bann.    B  in  Welsh  is  mutable  into  forv  and  m  ; 
eifara,  his  bread  ;  fy  mara,  my  bread.     So  bann  is  changed  into  /ann. 
Ab  means  quickness  of  motion  ;  bann,  high.     Thus  AJan  is  the  name 
of  a  river  which  Hows  from  the  high  lands  (bannau)  into  the  sea. 

1903  12 


The  Abbey,  \ve  find  from  the  Annales  de  Margan,  was 
founded  in  A.D.  1147. 

"  A.D.  1147  Fundata  est  abbatia  nostra  quae  dicitur  Margan  .  Et 
eodem  anno  comes  Gloucestrie  Robertas  ,  qui  earn  fundavit ,  apud 
Bristollum  obiit  pridie  kalend  Novembris." — Annales  de  Margan, 
p.  14. 

So  the  pious  founder's  spirit  passed  away,  and  he  never 
saw  the  noble  Abbey  rise  in  its  magnificence.  Magnifi- 
cent we  know  it  must  have  been,  judging  from  the 
remains  we  see  to-day  ;  and  this  noble  Abbey  so  appeared 
to  Sir  John  de  Avene.  He  confirms  certain  gifts,  "having, 
after  a  diligent  view  thereof,  considered  the  noble  and 
magnificent  structure  of  the  walls  continually  made  in 
the  said  monastery." 

The  Cistercians,  "the  puritans  of  the  cloister,"  who 
came  and  settled  in  this  lovely  spot,  were  an  offshoot  from 
the  Benedictines,  who  lived  under  a  new  and  stricter  rule, 
modelled  on  that  of  the  Order  they  quitted  in  1098.1 
Their  origin  is  well  known,  and  need  not  be  here  related. 
"  Both  Orders  were  great  landowners  ;  and  at  the  time  of 
the  Dissolution  most,  if  not  all,  of  the  Cistercian  houses 
seem  to  have  approximated  to  the  character  of  the  Bene- 
dictine abbey.  But,  speaking  generally,  and  taking  in 
view  also  the  preceding  centuries,  it  may  be  said  that  the 
Cistercians  were  essentially  farmers  and  farming  their 
own  lands  themselves.  This  they  were  able  to  do  the 
better  through  the  institute  of  fratres  conversi,  or  lay 
brethren,  which  flourished  among  them.  In  course  of 
time  this  system  was  abandoned  in  England  ;  for  instance, 
at  Meaux  Abbey  the  conversi  died  out  towards  the  end 
of  the  fourteenth  century."3 

The  conversi  were  distributed  among  the  various  granges 
belonging  to  the  Abbey,  and  as  these  were  far  from  the 
Abbey,  at  each  grange  a  small  chapel  was  provided  for 
the  use  of  the  conversi,  the  mass  being  celebrated  by  the 
monks  detailed  for  the  purpose.  Thus  we  find  that 
Bishop  Elias,  in  a  letter,  notifies  to  all  the  faithful  that  he 
has  granted  permission  to  the  Abbot  and  Convent  of 

1  Dr.  Birch,  Neath  Abbey. 

2  Henry  VIII  and  the  Enylish  Monisteries :  Dom  Francis  Gasquet. 


Margam   to   celebrate    services    in    their    "  Grangia   de 
Melis,"  A.D.  1239  ( Harleij Charter  75A  26). 

"  Licence,  by  Elias,  Bishop  of  Llandaff,  to  Margam,  for  Divine 
Service  in  Melis  Grange,  A.D.  1239.  Universis  Christi  fidelibus 
ad  quos  presens  scriptum  pervenerit .  E.  Dei  gratia  Landavensis 
episcopus  salutem  .  gratiam  .  et  benedictionera.  Quoniam  ex 
offitio  nobis  injuncto  justis  petentium  desideriis  et  precipue  . 
virorum  religiosorura  .  animo  nos  decet  benigno  condescendre . 
universitati  vestre  presentibus  duximus  significandum  .  quod  nos 
concessimus  dilectis  filiis  nostris  abbati  videlicet  et  conventui  de 
Margan  ut  in  grangia  sua  de  Melis  divina  possiut  celebrare. 
Ut  autem  ea  que  auctoritate  nostra  coiicessa  sunt  firmitatis 
robur  optineant  in  perpetimm .  presenti  scripto  sigillum  nostrum 

"  Datum  anno  gratie  M°-  O  xxxix.  valeat  universitas  vestra  in 

"  Endorsed — Quod  liceat  nobis  divina  ministeria  in  grangia  de 
Melis  celebrare." 


This  grange,  situated  in  the  hamlet  of  Hafod-y-Porth, 
is  now  called  the  Court  Farm  :  it  is  the  farm  close  to 
Port  Talbot  Great  Western  Railway  Station.  I  speak  of 
the  Afan  river  as  it  ran  prior  to  1838,  when  it  was 
diverted.  The  grange  stood  some  distance  from  the 
north  bank  of  the  river,  just  on  the  edge  of  the  land  over 
which  high  spring  tides  swept  in  flowing  up  the  river, 
sweetening  the  grass,  and  making  it  exceedingly  good 
feeding-ground  for  sheep,  which  thrive  amazingly  on  it. 
Melis  is  Welsh  for  sweet. 

The  same  name  obtains  in  Meols  in  Wirral,  Cheshire 

A  Harley  Charter  Deed  75  c  36  occurs  in  which  Leisan 
and  Owein,2  sons  of  Morgan,  promise  the  monks  on  their 
oath  not  to  dig  or  plough  the  land  between  the  Walda  of 
the  English — the  Gwal  Saeson,  the  Englishmen's  Wall— 
and  Meles  in  Avene  Marsh ;  for  they  and  their  fathers 
have  given  the  pasture  of  all  the  land,  arable  and  not 
arable  "  in  Melis"  in  Moor  and  in  Marsh,  to  the  monks, 
between  Avene  and  the  chapel  of  St.  Thomas.  The 

1  Dr.  Birch,  Margam  Abbey.  *  Occur  A.D.  1200-1205. 

12  2 

1  fifi         NOTES  ON  THE  GRANGES  OF  MARGAM  ABBEY. 

chapel  of  St.  Thomas  was  in  the  Grangia  de  Mel  is,  and  is 
the  building  I  believe  known  still  as  "  Yr  hen  Gapel,"  the 
Old  Chapel. 

The  Gwal  Saeson,  a  wall  of  masonry,  still  exists  in  con- 
siderable part,  and  runs  along  parallel  with  the  Afan 
river,  from  the  Ffrwdwyllt  river,  until  it  joins  the  Afan 
at  about  the  point  where  the  waters  pause  before  they 
turn  on  to  the  low-level  lands  to  run  more  sluggishly 
before  meeting  the  sea. 

The  Abbot  had  sea  walls  in  the  flat  marshes,  and  great 
care  seems  to  have  been  exercised  in  the  watching  and 
reparation  of  them.  These  walls  were  in  the  flat  land 
called  Morfa  Newydd,  or  New  Marsh  or  Moor  :  thus  it  was 
called  in  Abbey  days. 

An  indenture  exists,  made  on  St.  Nicholas  the 
Bishop's  Day,  6th  Dec.,  A.D.  1349,  Harley  Charter  75  A  44 
(C.  uccxxvii).  By  it  the  Abbot  grants  to  John  Lange 
and  Jevan  ap  Phelipot  of  Avene  (Aberavan),  eight  acres 
of  arable  land  in  the  demesne  of  Terrys  Grange  (I  do  not 
know  the  location  of  this  grange)  for  their  lives,  on  con- 
dition of  their  repairing  and  maintaining  all  the  Abbot's 
sea  walls  (wallce  marince)  in  the  Marsh  of  Avene,  against 
perils  of  the  sea  only  at  their  own  proper  expenses, 
excepting  the  work  of  repairing  or  altering  the  wood- 
work of  the  "  goutes,"  which  the  grantors  are  to  execute 
at  the  costs  of  the  Abbey.  The  feedings  on  the  wall  are 
to  be  enjoyed  by  the  grantors  without  injury  to  them. 
If  the  sea  goes  over  the  top  of  the  walls,  and  creates  so 
much  damage  that  it  cannot  be  repaired  between  two 
tides  of  ebb  and  flow  (inter  duas  tydas  inaris  fluentis  et 
refluentis)  without  imminent  danger,  then  the  Abbot  is 
to  render  assistance.  The  Abbot  allows  each  grantor  two 
loads  of  dead  wood,  to  be  delivered  weekly  by  the  forester  ; 
but  if  they  are  found  cutting  green  wood,  they  are  liable 
to  be  fined  in  the  Abbot's  Court. 

The  Port  Talbot  Stone,  found  near  the  Court  Farm, 
proves  with  the  grant  by  Leisan  and  Owein,  that 
St.  Thomas'  Chapel  was  that  licensed  for  divine  service 
by  Bishop  Elias  in  A.D.  1239,  in  the  Grangia  de  Melis. 
I  do  not  know  how  it  was  that  the  chapel  was  erroneously 
said  to  be  between  the  Afan  and  the  River  Neath. 






Professor  Westwood  says  the  Port  Talbot  Stone,  neat- 
Court  Farm,  was  evidently  intended  to  commemorate  the 
St.  Thomas  to  whom  the  neighbouring,  but  long-destroyed 
Capell  St.  Thomae  was  dedicated  :  "  the  stone  evidently 
intended  to  commemorate  the  neighbouring  but  now 
long-destroyed  Capell  St.  Thoinae"  "  in  terra  quam  W. 
comes  Gloucestri  dedit  Willelmo  filio  Henrici  inter 
aquas  de  Avene  et  Neth"  (italics  are  mine).  From  a 
charter  of  confirmation  by  Nicholas,  Bishop 
of  Llandaff:  here  the  chapel  is  stated 
to  have  been  between  the  Avan  and 
Neath  river. 

Although  I  am  certain  the  Chapel  of 
St.  Thomas  was  in  the  Grangia  de  Melis, 
I  have  some  doubts  as  to  the  building 
now  called  "yr  hen  Gapel "  (the  old 
Chapel)  being  the  ancient  chapel;  as  I  re- 
member the  west  end  of  the  old  dwelling- 
house  having  in  it  an  ecclesiastical  window, 
which,  however,  may  have  been  removed 
there  from  the  east  end  of  the  old  chapel, 
the  window  of  which  is  now  blocked  up. 
This  window  is  mentioned  in  a  letter  by 
the  late  Rev.  H.  H.  Knight.  He  writes 
(circa  1850),  on  his  visit  to  this  farm, 
"the  tenant  pointed  out  part  of  a  cross 
with  an  indented  pattern,  something  like 
that  at  Llantwit  Major.  It  had  been 
placed  as  part  of  the  coping  on  the 
garden  wall,  and  was  not  in  good  preser- 
vation. We  were  then  shown  the  west 
end  of  the  house,  and  were  informed 
that  it  had  been  part  of  a  chapel,  and  that  human 
remains  had  not  infrequently  been  discovered  in  digging 
the  raised  ground  on  which  the  buildings  stand.''1 

The  dwelling-house  was  burnt  down  some  years  ago  (a 
considerable  number  of  old  guineas  were  found  in  the 
debris),  and,  unfortunately,  the  window  was  destroyed  ; 
or,  what  amounts  to  the  same  thing,  it  was  put  into 

1  Extract  from  a  letter  sent  me  by  Mr.  J.  G.  Thomas,  Burry  Port. 
His  father  was  the  teuant  of  the  farm  at  the  time  referred  to. 

Sepulchral  Stone 
of  St.  Thomas. 


position  in  the  new  building  in  such  a  way  as  to  be 
unrecognizable.  It  was  about  the  same  size  as  the 
splayed  opening  of  the  east  window  in  the  old  chapel  ; 
and  I  think  it  probable  that  when  a  barn  was  erected 
on  the  east  of  the  chapel  and  attached  to  it,  the  window- 
jambs  and  mullions  were  removed  to  decorate  the  dwelling- 

On  the  south  wall  of  the  old  chapel  are  four  corbels  of 
Sutton  stone,  12  ft.  from  the  ground,  and  I  have  thought 
this  might  have  been  the  north  wall  of  the  ancient 
chapel,  if  the  present  building  is  not  it.  The  few 
ornamental  stones  about  seem  to  have  belonged  to  a 
more  ornate  building  than  that  of  the  building  now  called 
"yr  hen  Gapel."  The  old  chapel  is  12  ft.  by  14  ft.  long. 
The  east  window  is  22  in.  wide,  and  splayed  to  36  in. 
Some  of  the  quoins  are  of  Sutton  stone.  At  2  ft.  4  in. 
from  the  north-west  corner  is  the  ancient  doorway  with 
semi-circular  arch ;  it  is  2  ft.  3  in.  wide  by  9  ft.  10  in. 
high.  The  arch  rises  8  in.  from  the  springing ;  the 
curved  stones  of  the  arch  are  also  Sutton.  The  window 
of  the  west  end  of  the  dwelling-house  was  replaced  after 
the  fire,  and  appears  now  as  a  round-headed  light  of  about 
10  in.  width  find  30  in.  or  so  in  length. 

Lord  Hugh  le  Despenser  confirmed  the  gifts  to  the 
Abbey  by  Morgan  ap  Cradoc  and  Leisan,  his  son  (who, 
with  Owein,  gave  the  monks  the  land  in  "  Melis" 
and  Marsh),  and  stipulated  a  boundary  between  his  land 
and  the  monks'  land,  on  condition  of  their  celebrating 
divine  service  on  his  birthday,  "  in  pre-vigilia  Beati  Valen- 
tini  martyris,"  by  a  priest  saying  one  mass  of  the  Virgin 
Mary  on  the  three  following  days,  and  on  the  birthday 
itself  solemn  mass  in  the  choir  ;  monks  of  at  least  the 
grade  of  priests  are  to  sing  the  psalter,  "  pia  mente,"  on 
the  three  said  days;  seven  poor  men  are  to  be  fed, 
clothed,  and  provided  with  footwear  as  the  monks  are  ; 
and,  on  the  day  of  his  death,  yearly,  the  poor  men  are  to 
be  similarly  provided  for.  Circa  A.D.  1347  (document 
much  injured  by  rats,  so  that  the  date  cannot  be  actually 

^  As   already  stated,  the  land  given   to  the  monks  of 
Clairvaux   extended  to   the   further  bank   of  the  river 



Avan  :  "  scilicet  omnes  terras  cum  pertinentiis  suis  inter 
aquam  de  Kenefeg  et  ulteriorem  ripam  aque  de  Avene 
ulterioris  que  est  ad  occidentem  heremitagii  Tfieodorici." 

By  a  deed  similar  to  the  one  already  quoted,  Leisan 
and  Owein1  (T.  288.  12)  grant  to  Margam  Abbey  all  the 
marsh  lying  between  the  "  Wallum"  of  the  English  and 
Avene  water  (see  the  deed  previously  mentioned),  and 
between  Avene  water  and  Berges  (burrows  or  sand-dunes), 
at  a  yearly  rental  of  half-a-mark  silver.  The  latter  part 
gives  the  land  now  known  as  Morfa  Newydd,  or  New 
Marsh,  and  shifts  the  boundary  further  west  for  some 
distance  ;  and  so  the  parish  boundary  runs  along  the  west 
side  of  this  land  between  sea  and  river. 

Morgan  Gam,  or  Morgan  of  the  crooked  or  squinting 
eye — or,  it  may  be,  he  was  crook-backed — was  the  third 
son  of  Morgan  ap  Caradoc  ;  he  succeeded  to  the  estate  of 
his  brother  Leisan  and  Owein,  and  became  a  benefactor  to 
the  Abbey  early  in  the  thirteenth  century.  Gilbert,  Earl 
of  Gloucester,  took  Morgan  prisoner  in  A.D.  1228,  loaded 
him  with  chains,  and  sent  him  to  England ;  he  was 
released  on  giving  hostages  to  the  Earl  of  Clare.  Morgan 
was  a  turbulent  fellow ;  in  A.D.  1232  he  burned  the 
town  of  Kenfig,2  and  he  must  have  given  much  trouble 
to  the  Abbey,  for  he  swore  on  the  reliques  of  Margam  to 
observe  in  future  all  the  charters  and  confirmations  of  his 
father  and  brothers  and  his  own  to  Margam  Abbey,  and 
that  all  disputes  should  be  settled  by  award  of  two  or 
three  arbitrators  chosen  on  each  side  ;  "  and  if  we  do  not 
adhere  to  this,  let  Holy  Church  do  her  duty  by  us":  i.e., 
excommunicate  him  ( T.  73  ;  C.  DCCCLXXIV). 

Morgan  confirmed  his  whole  common  of  pasture  to  the 
monks,  "  tarn  in  Marisco  quam  in  Melis,"  as  well  in 
Marsh  as  in  Melis,  and  grants  them  a  site  for  building  a 
cow-house  "  in  Melis"  (see  note  on  Melis).  In  another 
deed  Morgan  Gam  grants  to  the  Abbey  (T.  115. 
C.  DCCCXXIX)  this  land,  the  New  Marsh  of  Avene, 
"  Novum  mariscum  de  Avene,"  between  their  "  Walda" 
(sea  wall)  and  the  "  "Walda"  of  the  English,  with  exclu- 

1  Occur  A.D.  1200-1205. 

2  "  MCCXXXII.     Combusta  est  villa  de  Kenefeg  per  Morganum  cham." 
(Exch.  Chr.  in  Arch.  Camb.,  1862,  p.  278). 

170          \»|  i;s  ON  THE  GRANGES  OF  MARGAM  ABBEY. 

sion  of  cattle,  except  those  of  the  Abbey,  from  Easter  to 
Michaelmas,  "  &  Pasca  usque  ad  festum  Sancti  Michael  is;" 
and  if  the  monks  desire  to  cultivate  the  said  marsh,  they 
are  to  hold  it  as  they  formerly  did  hold  the  whole  marsh 
by  their  charter.  The  New  Marsh,  which  is  still  its  name, 
was  doubtless  made  into  good  land  by  the  ditches  (still 
there),  and  by  the  sea  walls,  which  I  have  seen,  but 
which  are  now  nearly  all  covered  by  the  Port  Talbot 
Dock  Railways. 

The  acquisition  of  this  piece  of  land  is  the  only  altera- 
tion of  the  boundary  from  the  right  or  further  bank  of 
the  Afan,  in  any  part  of  the  estate,  from  the  foundation 
of  Margam  Abbey  in  A.D.  1147  to  the  present  day  ; 
the  boundary  of  the  estate,  also  that  of  the  parish,  is  the 
same  (with  the  exception  of  the  piece  of  land  east  of 
Hafodheulog),  after  it  leaves  the  Morfa  Newydd  (new 
marsh),  to-day  as  it  was  756  years  ago. 

Morgan  Gam  died  in  February,  A.D.  1240-41,  and  was 
buried  at  Margam  ;  and,  no  doubt,  the  monks  buried  him 
with  no  regrets. 

His  grandson  Leysan,  Lord  of  Avene,  son  of  Morgan 
vazan  (iychan  the  little)  granted  (T.  190  ;  C.  MLXXV)  to 
the  Abbey,  free  power  to  impark  within  the  limits  of  his 
demesne  any  kind  of  animals  found  upon  the  adjacent 
"  Walda"  surrounding  the  lands  called  Cormerchs  and 
Neumerchs,  on  the  south  side  of  Avene  water,  at  the  rate 
of  \d.  each,  towards  the  maintenance  of  the  "  Walda ;" 
some  honest  receiver  being  found  who  shall  render  account 
of  the  sums  demanded  to  the  cellerar  of  Margam  and  the 
chief  bailiff  of  Avene. 

The  grandson  of  Sir  Leisian  Dauene — who  was  the  first 
to  use  the  surname — Sir  Thomas  de  Avene,  had  disputes 
with  Margam  Abbey  with  regard  to  the  reparation  of  the 
Abbey  "  Walda"  and  the  ditches  of  Morfa  Newydd.  But 
on  the  Abbot  showing,  by  the  production  of  the  charters 
of  Leisan  and  Morgan  (I  think  this  must  be  an  error  for 
Owein  ;  there  would  not  be  two  brothers  named  Morgan), 
sons  of  Morgan  ap  Caradoc,  and  the  confirmation  of 
Morgan  Gam  their  brother,  their  right  to  the  soil  annexed 
to  the  Walda  on  both  sides  thereof,  an  agreement  was 
entered  into  (T.  222;  C.  MCLXXII),  and  Sir. Thomas  rati- 


fied  the  Charters  and  agrees  not  to  hinder  the  Abbey 
workmen  ;  with  provision  for  impounding  the  cattle  of 
either  straying,  and  the  punishment  of  men  of  either 
party  trespassing. — Margam,  1  Jan.,  A.D.  1349. 

Morgan,  son  of  Owen,  who  gave  Hafod-heulog  to  Mar- 
gam,  had  a  dispute  with  Neath  Abbey,  and  burned  it  and 
400  sheep,  and  four  shepherds  perished  in  the  fire,  a 
monk  and  a  lay  brother  being  seriously  wounded.  We 
have  seen  that  he  injured  Margam  as  well. 

In  A.D.  1223  some  wicked  persons  burned  in  one  week 
upwards  of  1,000  sheep  and  two  houses  belonging  to 
Margam.  In  the  year  following,  1224,  the  Welsh  again 
attacked  the  Abbey  servants,  and  killed  a  boy  tending 


In  the  early  part  of  the  thirteenth  century,  Yorwerth, 
son  of  Ethenard,  gives  to  the  Abbey  the  land  of  Pennudh- 
Penhydd  ("  the  land  of  the  Stag's  head").  Also  Alaithur,1 
son  of  Ethenard,  gives  the  land  of  Penhydd,  probably 
another  part,  to  the  Abbey. 

About  the  same  time  Luelin,  son  of  Hired,2  grants  all 
his  land  of  Pennudh  and  abjuration  of  all  hie  land  of 
Hembroc.  Hembroc,  or  Embroch,  or  Embro,  as  it  is 
variously  spelled,  is  called  to-day  Mynydd  Embroch 
(Ernbroch  mountain),  and  lies  south-west  of  Penhydd. 
I  will  give  what  I  think  is  the  derivation  of  the  word 
later  on. 

The  Abbey  was  not  allowed  peaceful  possession  of 
this  grange,  for  in  A.D.  1227,  according  to  the  Annales 
de  Margam,  p.  35,  we  find  that  the  Welsh  from  the  hill 
country  —  the  hinterland  —  destroyed  the  grange  and 
killed  many  of  the  "  Animals,"  i.e.,  sheep  and  oxen,  in 
great  number.  At  the  same  time  they  destroyed  the 
granges  of  Kossaulin  (Resolven  or  Rhesolven,  in  the 
Neath  Valley),  and  Theodoric  in  Margam  and  other  places; 
for  the  annalist  writes,  pp.  20,  25  :  "Rursum  diversis  in 
locis  domos  nostras  succenderunt;"  "In  quibus  ignegreges 
ovium  magni  perierunt." 

1  Occurs  in  A.D.  1213.  -  Occurs  in  A.D.  1119. 


We  have  a  very  early  notice  of  coal  being  worked  on 
this  grange  in  a  grant  by  Owein,  son  of  Alaythur.  He 
grants  certain  lands  between  the  source  of  the  Frudel, 
the  nearest  approach  the  Norman  scribe  could  get  to 
Ffrwdwyllt  (at  which  some  of  my  readers  will  not  wonder), 
and  the  road  leading  from  Pennud  to  Blain  Kenan — 
Blaen  Cynon — and  between  the  rivulet  Blein-nant-lieuth- 
leurch — Blaen-nant  of  to-day,  near  to  Torre-kemerev — 
an  attempt  to  master  Tor-y-Cyrnry — and  Nant-disculua. 
This  word,  Nant  Dysgwylfa,  no  doubt  sorely  puzzled  the 
poor  monk. 

Owein  in  another  grant,  circa  A.D.  1249  (Harley  Charter 
75  B  4,  cxxvn),  gives  the  monks  all  the  "  stony  coal" 
(totum  carbonum  lapideum)  in  his  and  his  men's  lands  with 
ingress  and  egress  for  two-wheeled  and  four-wheeled  carts 
and  other  vehicles — "  cum  libero  ingressu  et  egressu  tarn 
cum  bigis  et  quadrigis  quam  aliis  vecturis  prout  eisdem 
commodius  visum  fuerit"  for  half  a  mark  beforehand  and 
on  Christmas  Eve  (in  Vigilia  Natalis  Domini]  the  yearly 
rent  of  half  a  crannoc1  of  wheat  so  long  as  the  monks  use 
the  coal.  The  monks  undertake  to  compensate  Owein 
for  all  damage  done  by  their  coal  working  to  his  arable 
land,  "  quicquid  vero  dampni  incurrerim  vel  perdiderim 
de  terra  arribili  per  fossionem  dicti  carbonis  predicti 
monachi  mihi  restituent  per  visum  bonorum  et  legalium 

This  coal  was  worked  in  the  neighbourhood  of  Bryn, 
where  coal  is  worked  to-day,  but  I  never  thought  until 
I  saw  this  deed  in  the  British  Museum  that  coal  was 
worked  there  nearly  seven  hundred  years  ago.2 

Owen,  for  some  reason  or  other  did  much  injury  to  the 
Abbey  property ;  but  this  came  to  an  end,  and  a  record  is 
left  us  (T.  145  ;  C.  MCCCCXVII)  in  an  agreement  made  in 
A.D.  1246,  between  Owen,  Rees  and  Cradoc,  sons  of 
Alaythur,  and  the  monks.  Owen  and  his  brothers 

1  Crannoc,  Crynog,  a  local  ancient  measure  used   in   this  district 
previous  to  the  Uniformity  Act  of  1826.     It  was  equal  to  10  bushels 
(History  of  Llanyynwyd  by  Cadrawd,  p.  154). 

2  Some  of  the  Margam  Abbey  deeds  were  probably  taken  to  London 
on  the  dissolution  of  the  monastery,  and  then  found  their  way  to  the 
British  Museum. 


having  injured  the  Abbey  property  to  the  extent  of  £324 
(a  sum  in  our  money  of  between  £4,000  and  £5,000),  they 
give  various  grants  to  the  Abbey,  and  undertake  by  oath 
upon  the  sacred  reliques  at  Margam  that  they  will  not 
depasture  their  cattle  in  Abbey  lands,  nor  occupy  the 
Abbey  houses,  nor  fish  in  the  waters  of  Neth  (Neath), 
under  penalty  of  excommunication  and  denial  of  church 
burial.  The  grants  of  land  and  coal  were  probably  the 
friendly  result  of  this  agreement. 

John  de  Egglescliffe,  Bishop  of  Llandaff  A.D.  1339, 
notifies  in  obedience  to  Apostolic  letters  exhibited  to  him 
by  Hugh  Everard,  monk  of  Margam  and  Proctor  of  the 
Abbey,  he  has  confirmed  to  the  Abbot  and  Convent  the 
possession  of  the  tithes  of  sheaves  and  of  hay  in  their 
lands  of  upper  and  lower  Pennuth  and  elsewhere. 

At  the  commencement  of  the  sixteenth  century  the 
Abbot  having  become  simply  a  great  landowner,  and  the 
activity  and  zeal  of  the  Cistercian  Order  having  become 
enfeebled,  a  symptom  of  decay  shows  itself  in  the  leasing 
of  the  granges  hitherto  farmed  by  the  Abbey  by  the 
labour  of  the  conversi.  The  lay  brethren,  as  we  have 
seen  stated  by  Dom  Gasquet,  ceased  to  be  welcome  at  the 
Abbeys,  and  the  result  of  this  and  the  wealth  acquired 
by  the  monks,  and  the  gradual  abandonment  of  the 
austere  life  they  formerly  led,  was  the  leasing  of  the 
granges  and  other  lands  to  secular  persons. 

Abbot  David — to  give  him  his  full  name,  David  ap 
Thomas  ap  Howell — began  the  new  order  of  things. 
Mr.  Clark  says  that  Abbot  David  was  the  third  son  of 
Thomas  ap  Jevan  by  Madryn  Stradling  (Stradling  is  a 
corruption  of  le  Esterling,  the  name  of  one  of  the  Norman 
knights ;  Jevan  was  the  fourth  son  of  Rhys  Vychan, 
ancestor  of  Powell  of  Llandow). 

It  would  seem  that  some  of  the  charges  levelled  at  the 
monasteries  by  Henry  VIII  were  true,  for  Abbot  David 
had  several  natural  children  who  are  frequently  mentioned 
in  the  local  pedigrees.1 

The    fishings    (always    so    jealously  guarded   by   the 
monks)  are   even  let  and  Abbot  David  leases  (T.  274  ; 
C.  MCCCIV)  to  Jevan  ap  Hopkyn  ap  Willyam,  gentleman 
1  Dr.  Birch,  Margam  Abbey. 


all  the  fishing  in  the  Afari  river,  from  the  ford  called 
"  Reyde  Epollon  Deon  in  Avenys  waters  to  the  pette 
called  Polle  Robyn." 

The  lease,  dated  8th  March,  1509  (1510),  was  for 
seventy  years,  and  the  rent  is  thus  stated,  "  payng  yerle 
the  rente  and  ferme  for  the  seyd  fysching  to  the  seyd 
abbat  or  couent  othyr  hys  successures  fro  Hogday1  unto 
owre  Lades  Day  in-  the  harvoste  four  chellinges  forty 
sewins  (sewin)  and  seventeen  samonys." 

Even  at  this  date  the  monks  had  learned  no  Welsh, 
although  they  and  their  predecessors  had  lived  so  long  in 
the  land ;  and  we  still  see  desperate  attempts  at  spelling. 
Some  of  my  readers  will  not  be  surprised  when  they  find 
that  Reyde  Epollon  Deon  should  be  Rhyd-y-pyllau-duon, 
the  Ford  of  the  Black  Pools,  called  to-day  Black-wells 
(near  Cwmavon).  The  word  Deon  is  the  nearest  ap- 
proximate pronunciation  of  Duon.  Polle  Robyn,  which 
looks  so  like  a  girl's  name,  is  Pwll  Robin,  or  Robin's 
Pool.  This  is  a  well-known  spot  on  the  river  Afan,  near 
where  the  boundary  of  the  parish  leaves  the  further 
bank  of  the  river  to  traverse  the  mountains ;  it  is  also 
near  the  Ford  of  Gyfylchu,2  the  ford  mentioned  in  the 
charter  of  William,  Earl  of  Gloucester,  as  Redekewelthi. 
This  word  the  monks  ever  stumbled  at ;  they  did  their 
best  and  wrote  Kewelthi,  Keuelhi,  Keweleth-hi.  The 
scribe  who  wrote  it  Keweleth-hi  got  hold  of  the  last 
letter,  and  doubtless  was  proud  of  it,  for  "  u"  is  "  i" 
in  sound,  Norman  "  i." 

And  now  I  have  a  picturesque  scene  to  relate  of  Pen- 
hydd  Waelod.  Harley  Charter  75  A  49  (C.  MCCCXIX) 
gives  the  text  of  the  deposition  of  the  Jury  in  the  Court 
of  John,  Abbot  of  Margam  concerning  the  boundaries  of 
the  grange  of  Penhydd  Waelod,  Penhydd  lower. 

Abbot  David  now  like  Solomon,  slept  with  his  fathers, 
and  Abbot  John  had  taken  on  him  his  mitre.  Before  he 

1  Hognight  was  New  Year's  Eve,  so  presumably  Hogday  was  the 
last  day  of  the  year  (Dr.  Brown's  Dictionary  of  Phrase  and  Fable, 
p.  410.) 

1  Gyfylchu.  Cy,  an  abbreviation  of  Cyd,  which  means  united,  and 
Fylchu,  the  plural  of  Bwlch,  gaps  or  passes,  meaning  the  intersection 
of  the  passes  or  gaps. 


died  be  leased  the  grange  to  Thomas  ap  Griffith  ap  David 
Wachan,  and  Margaret,  verch  (daughter  of)  David  ap 
Philip,  liis  wife,  for  seventy  years,  at  a  yearly  rent  of 
thirteen  shillings  and  fourpence  and  a  "  herriett."  The 
lease  is  dated  in  the  Chapter-House,  Margam,  30th  Dec., 
A.D.  1516. 

The  jury  of  twelve  under  oath  find  the  boundaries  to 
be  from  the  corner  of  Jevan  Thuys*  close,  beyond  the 
pool,  to  Lether  Teley  or  Telley,1  to  the  high  road  off  tbe 
road  through  the  gorse  moor  to  Talken'  Henglawth  ;2  then 
along  the  old  foss  to  gorse  moor,8  through  the  middle  of 
the  moor  of  the  coal-pit,  where  lie  two  stones  ;  then  to 
the  old  foss  of  the  meadows  called  Gweyn  Deveyd  ;4  then 
to  the  stones  called  Mayn  Lloydon,5  to  the  high  road 
beyond  the  road  of  Keven-y-Garne  Issa  ;6  then  between 
the  stones  called  y'  Garn',  to  Cam'  Ycha  ;7  then  to  the 
well  near  the  close  of  Gruff  ap  Rees. 

And  the  said  Thomas  ap  Gruff'  (Griffith)  swore  to  these 
boundaries  on  a  book  of  the  Gospels,  and  carried  the 
book,  in  accordance  with  the  curious  custom  of  the  Manor, 
along  all  the  above  boundaries. — Margam,  llth  Oct., 

The  last  Abbot  of  Margam,  Ludovicus  (or  Lewis) 
Thomas,  just  short  of  five  years  before  the  end  came, 
leased  the  Afan  fishing  to  Llewelyn  ap  Hopkine  David 
Grayh  for  forty  years,  "  From  the  foorde  callyd  Ryde  y 
ppollon'  Deon  (note  the  fanciful  spelling  this  time),  to 
the  forde  called  Ryde  y  Banalle,8  benneth  the  myle" 
(mill),  the  rent  being 'x  Samones  v  gyllynges9  XLiiute 

1  Lether  Teley.     Llethr,  a  slope,  and  Tyle,  steep. 

2  Talken   Henglawth.      Talcen   Henglawdd,    the   head   of   the   old 

3  Gorse  Moor  =  gors  mawr,  the  great  bog  ;  gors  for  cors,  a  bog ;  moor 
for  mawr,  great ;  old  foss,  ffos,  a  ditch. 

4  Gweyn  Deveyd.     Gwaun  Defaid,  sheep  meadow. 

5  Mayn   Lloydon.     Maen  Llwydion,  maen,  stone  ;    llwydion,  gray ; 
gray  stone. 

6  Keven  y  Garne  Issa,  Cefn-y-garn  Isaf,  the  ridge  of  the  lowest  cairn. 

7  Garn  Ychaf.     Uchaf,  the  highest  cairn. 

8  Rhyd  y  Banalau,   Ford  of  the  Broom,  Cytisus  Scoparius  ;  Rhyd, 
a  ford  ;  Banalau,  broom. 

9  ?  Graylings.     It  is  said  the  monks  brought  the  grayling  into  this 
country  from  the  Continent. 


suwynges  to  be  payd  at  the  usuale  tyme  of  the  yere  or 
elles  virjd  for  euery  samone  and  nud  for  euery  gyllyng, 
and  for  euery  cuple  sewinges  i*,  and  the  sayd  samonsy 
yerely  to  be  payd  befor  the  fest  of  the  purificacion  of  oure 
Lady,  and  the  other  said  fyshes  to  be  paid  before  the 
nativitie  of  our  Lady."  I  have  not  been  able  to  find 
out  what  the  fish  named  "  gyllynges"  might  be. 

Lewis  Thomas  surrendered  his  Abbey  on  February 
28th,  A.D.  1537,  into  the  hands  of  a  greedy  and  rapacious 
kino-;  and  then,  when  almost  near  the  promise  of  spring, 
the  monks  wandered  forth,  and  all  seemed  winter  still  to 
them.  The  Abbaty,  as  the  Welsh  call  it — father's  house, 
for  the  Abbot  fed  the  poor — fell,  to  rise  no  more. 


The  last  part  of  the  notes  on  Penhydd  Waelod  ended 
in  gloom  and  winter  and  sadness ;  and  now  I  bring  you 
to  summer,  for  Hafod  means  "  the  summer  abode  ;"  haf, 
summer  ;  bod,  house  or  dwelling  ;  the  "  b"  being  dropped 
for  the  sake  of  euphony. 

This  Grange  is  in  the  hamlet  of  Hafod-y-Porth,  as  the 
former  granges  are.  The  chapel  of  this  farm  existed 
until  recently,  and  the  field  on  which  it  stood  is  called 
Waun-y-capel,  "  Chapel  meadow."  While  in  the  Law 
Courts,  a  year  or  so  ago,  I  was  fortunate  in  seeing  on  an 
Admiralty  Chart  made  in  A.D.  1859,  the  chapel  marked 
thereon,  and  from  that  I  was  able  to  mark  it  on  the 
Ordnance  Map,  and  so  preserve  a  record,  at  any  rate,  of 
its  exact  position.  In  an  old  Map  by  John  Speed,  A.D. 
1610,  it  is  marked  as  Hauod-aport  chapel. 

The  lands  of  Hafod  lie  in  the  beautiful  Dyffryn  valley : 
this  is  tautology,  as  both  words  mean  nearly  the  same 
thing,  Dyffryn  being  composed  of  two  words,  dwfr, 
water,  and  hynt,  a  way  or  course ;  the  word  Dyffryn 
therefore  meaning  a  valley  through  which  a  river  finds 
its  way.  The  river  running  through  the  valley  has  the 
picturesque  name  of  Ffrvvdwyllt ;  the  Rudelf  of  William, 
Earl  of  Gloucester's,  Charter  and  the  Frudel  of  Owein's 
grant :  it  means  "  wild  stream  ;  "  ffrwd,  stream  or  torrent; 
wyttt,  gwyttt,  wild  or  rushing. 

NOTES  ON  THE  GRANGES  OF  M  AEG  AM  ABBEY.          177 

The  sons  of  Herbert  were  possessed  of  lands  in  Dyffryn  ; 
they  gave  the  land  Killeculum  (or  Gallt-y-cwm  as  it  is 
now  called)  to  the  monks — the  steep  part  in  the  valley, 
and  truly  it  is  a  steep  road  to  reach  it !  Gallt-y-cwm  lies 
on  Hafod's  right  hand  to  the  north,  but  Hafod  is  the 
happier  for  the  bright  peep  it  has  of  the  tumbling  waters 
of  the  Hafren,  as  the  Severn  Sea  is  called  in  this  land. 
Gallt-y-cwm  looks  right  upon  the  lofty  Mynydd  Embroch, 
between  which  and  it  the  Ffrwdwyllt  flows,  somewhat 
smaller  here  and  not  so  turbulent.  Hafod,  too,  can  look 
on  Mynydd  Embroch,  that  steep  old  mountain,  which 
seems  to  me  to  find  its  name  from  its  attributes :  Hen- 
brembch  I  make  it,  the  old  steep  mountain  ;  from  hen, 
old ;  "  bre,"  synonymous  with  "  bryn"  in  the  twelfth 
century,  hill  or  mountain,  moch  steep,  shortened  into 
easier  Embroch. 

Gallt-y-cwm  received  many  strange  spellings  by  the 
monks:  Killeculm,  Killeculum,  Killecullum,  Killialum;  but 
in  the  Harley  Charter,  75  c  29  ;  C.  DCCLLXI,  it  is  spelt  in 
a  most  fanciful  way,  and  the  name  sounds  as  if  the  monk 
was  in  playful  mood  as  he  wrote  :  Kidlicolum  he  put 
down.  You  will  see  why  he  was  in  this  mood,  for  Griffin 
Latimer  quit-claimed  to  the  monks  of  Margam  his  right 
in  the  land  of  Kidlicolum  (Gallt-y-cwm),  on  their  giving 
him  a  shirt  and  breeches  (camisiam  et  braccas) ;  they 
gave  him  the  money  to  buy  a  tunic  and  mantle  as 

Gallt-y-cwm  stands  441  ft.  above  the  sea,  and  therefore 
looks  down  on  Penhydd,  which  is  417  ft.,  and  Cil-y-gofid, 
338  ft.  above  the  sea  level.  Ty'n-y-fferm2  (as  on  Ordnance 
Map)  is  221  ft. 

The  narrow  lanes  of  monastic  times  still  exist  in  the 
hamlet  of  Hafod-y-Port,  in  Dyffryn  valley,  some  near 
Hafod  being  only  6  ft.  or  7  ft.  in  width.  One  of  the 
lanes  is  mentioned  in  a  deed,  dated  A.D.  1516,  "as  far  as 

1  The  cloth  was  "  de  burello."  "  Panni  spissioris  ac  vilioris,  species, 
Burrell,  bureau,  gros  drap"  Ducange  :  a  kind  of  thick  coarse  cloth, 
probably  of  a  red  colour  (Dr.  Birch,  Maryam  Abbey).  I  think  it  was 
the  "  Brethyn  Llwyd,"  a  woollen  cloth  made  in  Wales  and  worn  by 
farmers  ;  a  brownish-grey  in  colour. 

2  Ty'n-y-fferm  ;  short  for  Tyddyn-y-fferm,  the  house  of  the  farm. 


the  lane  called  Rew  Herbert."  This  lane,  Rhiw  Herbert, 
still  exists  ;  Rhiw  means  a  steep  path  or  roadway  up  a 
mountain  side.  In  this  deed  the  Ffredulles-Myll, 
Ffrwdwyllt  Mill  (corn)  is  leased.  The  mill  exists  still, 
but  has  recently  been  made  into  a  woollen  factory.  In  a 
deed  of  1536  A.D.,  another  lane  is  mentioned,  the  Troscol, 
"  the  road  over  the  peak  (of  the  mountain)  ;"  it  is  still  so 

I  can  easily  understand  why  Hafod  was  given  such  a 
summer-like  name :  it  has  on  either  hand  the  loveliest 
little  valley  I  have  yet  seen,  particularly  that  on  its  right; 
neither  is  so  ambitious  a  one  as  its  parent,  the  Dyffryn. 
The  one  on  the  right,  or  north,  is  the  Cwm  Wenderi, 
properly  Cwm  Waun-dderi ;  Cwm  is  also  valley,  or  dingle 
rather,  as  "coombe"  in  Devonshire,  "  the  valley  or  dingle  of 
the  meadow  of  the  oaks." 

If  you  climb  up  the  Hafod  mountain  out  of  the  valley, 
you  see  below  you  the  ruins  of  a  house  called  "  Maes 
dwfn,"  from  "  maes,"  a  field  ;  "  dwfn,"  deep  or  low.  And 
on  the  top  the  view  is  strange ;  you  seem  to  be  in  a 
different  world,  mountain  after  mountain  being  heaped 
together,  and  succeeding  each  other  as  far  as  the  eye  can 

On  those  hills  the  battles  of  bygone  days  were  fought 
between  Roman  and  Briton,  and,  later  still,  between 
Norman  and  Welsh.  On  Hafod  mountain  is  Bryn  Allwyn, 
"  the  hill  of  sorrow"  or  "of  grief,"  whence  come  the  wailings 
of  the  mothers  who  find  their  dead,  the  dead  who  spoke 
the  "  lingua  nimborum,"  as  the  Romans  called  it,  "  the 
language  of  the  rain  clouds ;"  and  up  in  the  rain-clouded 
mountain  tops  the  Romans  truly  found  much  trouble. 
Close  to  Hafod,  too,  is  Cwm  Lladdfa,  "  the  dingle  of 
slaughter" — ominous  name  !  It  opens  out  of  Cwm 
Cerdinen,  "  the  dingle  of  the  mountain  ash,"  as  if  it 
bore  in  its  bright  red  berries  the  remembrance  of  the 
effusion  of  blood  near  by.  "  Cwm,"  dingle  ;  "  lladdfa," 

Again,  as  you  stand  on  Hafod  Mountain,  you  see  past 
Gallt-y-cwm ;  and  nearer  to  you  than  Penhydd  Waelod 
which  you  can  also  see,  a  farm  called  Cil-y-gofid,  "the 
nook  or  retreat  of  affliction."  Here,  perhaps,  a  group  of 


soldiers  fought  to  the  last,  surrounded  by  the  enemy. 
"  Cil,"  nook  or  retreat ;  "gofid,"  affliction. 

There,  too,  three  miles  north-east  of  Hafod,  is  a  field 
of  battle,  and  a  noted  one  it  must  have  been,  for  it  is 
called  the  "  Tor-y-Cymry,"  the  swell  or  boss  (of  the 
mountain)  of  the  Welsh.  Why  of  the  Welsh  ?  when  all 
the  mountains  were  of  the  Welsh  ?  It  clearly  points  to 
some  notable  battle  on  the  site  held  by,  or  captured  by, 
the  Welsh.  As  usual,  the  monks  made  a  terrible  word 
of  Tor-y-Cymry :  Torkemerev,  Toykemerev.  Near  by 
is  Nant  Dysgwylfa  and  Pen  Dysgwylfa,  "the  hollow 
of  the  watching-place,"  and  "  the  top  of  the  watching- 

Now,  of  Nant  Dysgwlfa,  which  they  wrote  Nantiscoilua. 
There  are  two  words  used  in  connection  with  this  name 
which  I  cannot  make  out,  in  a  grant  or  quit-claim  by 
Jowain  'ab  Justin  to  Margam  of  all  the  land  at  Pennud 
(Penhydd):  "  Totam  terram  que  est  inter  rivum  Bleinant- 
lineuthleuerich  proximum  Toykemerev  et  Nantiscoilua 
usque  ad  viam  que  vadit  a  Pennuth."  The  river  Blaen- 
Nant  is  easy ;  but  Lineuthleuerich  is  a  puzzle.  I  hope 
some  of  my  readers  may  be  able  to  make  the  strange 
word  out.  The  road  over  the  Tor  is  called  "  Rhiw-Tor-y- 

A  little  way  south  and  east  of  Hafod,  and  just  a  mile 
from  Bryn  Allwyn,  Prince's  Gravestone  lies  :  it  is  that 
of  a  British  Prince — Bodvoc — probably  killed  in  battle, 
for  close  by  are  numerous  entrenchments,  Roman  and 
British.1  The  lettering  on  the  stone  is  as  clear  to-day 
as  when  it  was  cut — some  fourteen  hundred  years  or 
more  ago.  What  a  long  and  lonely  watch  it  has  kept  by 
the  warrior  lying  there,  still  faithfully  giving  us  his  name, 
as  it  did  to  the  Norman  monks  when  they  came  !  I  give 
a  sketch  of  the  Bodvoc  stone.  There  is  a  tradition  here, 
that  anyone  who  reads  the  words  aright  will  soon  after 
die.  I  think  the  cross  on  the  stone  top  was  added  by 
the  monks,  who  knew  from  the  formula,  "  hie  jacit,"  that 
Bodvoc  was  a  Christian,  and  wished  so  to  consecrate  the 

1  Near  by  is  a  Roman  camp,  having  a  later  British  camp  around  it : 
it  is  called  Bwlwarcan.  South  of  the  stone,  half  a  mile,  is  a  Roman 
halting  camp. 

1903  13 


burial-place,  and  to  show  to  passers-by  tbat  it  was  so ; 

and  that  Bodvoc  slept  "dan  ei  grwys,"  as    the  Welsh 

love  ever  to  say  of  the  dead,  "  he  sleeps  under  his  Cross" 

—Grwys,  a  corruption  of  Croes. 

The    inscription    has   puzzled   many ;    but    Professors 

Rhys,  Westwood  and  Hiibner  have  made  out  the  true 
reading  to  be  "Bodvoci  hie  jacit  films  Catotigirni  pronepus 
Eternali  Vedomavi,"  "  Here  lies  the  body  of  Bodvoc,  the 
son  of  Catotigirnus,  the  great-grands  on  of  Eternalis 

In  an  old  account  of  Glamorgan,  which  contains  a  map 
by  John  Speed,  dated  A.D.  1610,  is  the  following,  refer- 


ring  to  the  Bodvoc  stone  : — "  And  upon  the  same  shoare 
more  North  and  by  West  (than  Newton,  near  Porthcawl), 
on  the  top  of  a  hill  called  Minyd  Margan,  is  erected  a 
monument  inscribed  with  a  strange  character  ;  and  as 
strange  a  conceit  held  thereof  by  the  by-dwellers,  whose 
opinions  are  possessed,  that  if  any  man  reade  the  same, 
he  shall  shortly  after  die." 

The  stone  keeping  watch  by  Bodvoc  is  a  water- worn 
boulder  of  Pennant  sandstone,  and  it  stands  close  to  the 
source  of  the  Ken  fig  river.  I  believe  the  stone  is  referred 
to  in  the  Abbey  Deeds  as  the  Maen  Llwyd,  the  gray 
stone.  The  Welsh  call  it  the  "  Carreg  Llythyrenog,"  "  the 
lettered  stone."  Near  it  is  the  "  Crug-y-Diwlith,"  which 
was  supposed  to  mean  the  dewless  mound  ;  but,  no 
doubt,  the  meaning  is  the  "  Mound  of  the  Lesson  from 
God  ;"  Duw-,  God  ;  -lith,  a  lesson.  The  bards  of  Tir  larll, 
"  the  Earl's  land/'  assembled  on  the  24th  June  each 
year,  alternately  on  the  Crug,  Llangynwyd  Church  and 
Bettws  Church,  to  hold  their  Gorseddau.  When  the 
parish  boundaries  were  "  beaten,"  the  clergy  used  to 
address  the  people  from  the  Crug. 

The  Bodvoc  Stone  is  known  to  antiquaries  all  over  the 
world,  and  a  description  and  sketch  of  it  appears  in 
Professor  Hlibner's  Inscriptiones  Britannia  Christianas ; 
and  also  in  Professor  Westwood's  Lapidarium  Wallice. 
A  little  south  of  Hafod,  and  a  mile  or  so  east  of  the 
Bodvoc  Stone,  are  two  tumuli :  one  is  called  the  Ergyd 
Uchaf,  on  the  1,000  ft.  contour  line,  and  the  Ergyd 
Isaf,  on  the  800  ft.  contour  line.  Ergyd  means  a  shot  or 
flight  ;  uchaf,  higher ;  isaf,  lower.  These  were  the 
signalling  stations  of  Romans  or  of  British  ;  and  doubtless 
from  one  to  other  has  gleamed  forth  the  fiery  signal  that 
told  of  the  enemy's  approach,  and  called  the  Welsh  to 
gather  to  defend  the  ancient  land  of  their  fathers. 

(To  b«  continued). 



BY  S.  W.  KEHSHAW,  F.S.A. 

(Head  November  5th,  1902.) 

E  first  read  of  this  manor  in  the  reign  of 
Henry  VIII,  who  often  came  here  from 
Hampton  Court  for  the  pleasures  of  the 

The  mansion  was  built  by  that  King, 
and  many  later  additions  were  made. 
The  manor  was  conveyed  to  Henry  VIII 
by  indenture,  dated  1538,  in  consideration  of  a  grant 
from  that  sovereign  of  the  site  and  demesne  lands  of 
Tunbridge  in  Kent,  and  some  in  Surrey.  The  name  was 
anciently  spelt  Otelands,  Otland,  Otheland,  and  Owte- 
land,  and  the  owners  had  long  held  the  manor  lands  of 
Byfleet  and  Weybridge  by  leases  from  the  Crown. 

Royal  houses  round  London  were  more -numerous  than 
to-day.  They  served  as  resting-places  for  the  "  pro- 
gresses," so  fashionable  with  the  Tudor  and  early  Stuart 
sovereigns.  These  "progresses"  made  royalty  popular, 
encouraged  displays,  spent  money,  and  generally  brought 
together  the  higher  and  lower  classes  for  the  good  of 
State  and  country.  The  Surrey  historians,  Manning  and 
Bray,  are  nobly  represented  in  the  British  Museum,  by  an 
interleaved  copy  in  twenty-five  volumes,  with  sketches  in 
colour,  pencil  and  otherwise,  or  engravings,  of  the  churches, 
mansions,  and  antiquities  in  that  county.  Volume  xvi  of 
this  work  contains  several  views  of  Oatlands ;  and  one  in 
water-colour,  from  a  drawing  by  Antonio  Van  Wyngaerd 
(1559),  shows  the  structure  to  be  of  brick,  and  in  general 


i-j  a, 

5  £ 

>  H 

fc  -i 


BY  THOMAS  GRAY,  ESQ.,  V.D.,  J.P.,  M.INST.  C.E. 
(Continued  from  page  181,  vol.  lix 


MUST  now  take  you  to  where  the  sun  is 
stronger,  by  reason  of  our  having  lin- 
gered so  long  at  Hafod,  and  we  come 
to  the  sunny  summer  abode,  for  that  is 
the  meaning  of  Hafodheulog :  hafod, 
summer  abode ;  heulog,  sunny.  The 
first  grant  of  the  land  of  Hafodheulog 
is  found  in  an  imperfect  charter  (T.  289  (2) ;  C.  DCCXVI) 
by  Kenwreic,  son  of  Herbert,  sworn  upon  the  Sanctuaria 
of  Margam  Abbey  Church.  Helias,  Dean  of  Newcastle, 
Bridgend,  was  one  of  the  witnesses  ;  he  occurs  at  the 
end  of  the  twelfth  century.  The  next  deed  referring  to 
Hafodheulog  is  a  quit-claim  (7.  117  ;  C.  DCLXXXIX)  by 
Philip,  the  priest  of  Havod-haloc,  and  John  his  nephew, 
to  Margam  Abbey,  of  the  chapel  of  Havodhaloc.  This 
deed  was  ratified  in  the  presence  of  Nicholas,  treasurer  of 
Llandaff  Cathedral  ;  Ivor,  canon  ;  Adam,  priest ;  Robert 
Samsonis.1  This  was  confirmed  by  Bishop  Henry2  to 
Margam,  by  deed  addressed  to  the  clergy  and  laity  of  the 
diocese,  and  enrolled  (T.  543,  1 0  ;  C.  MCCCCXXVII),  assur- 
ing the  land  of  Haudhaloc  and  Rossaulin  (Resolveu,  Vale 
of  Neath)  and  their  respective  chapels,  with  anathema 
against  those  who  resist.  Half  a  mile  to  the  north,  a 

1  Of.  Harley  Charters  75A.,  A.D.  1217. 

2  A.D.  1196  to  1218. 


little  east  of  north,  are  marked  on  the  Ordnance  Map  the 
remains  of  Capel  Trisant,  Church  or  Chapel  of  the  Three 
Saints.  This  chapel,  it  seems  to  me,  was  the  chapel  of 
Hafodheulog,  on  the  lands  of  the  Grange,  but  a  little  way 
off  for  the  convenience  of  other  granges  or  farms  near  by. 

Three  Bulls  were  issued  by  Pope  Innocent  III,  in 
A.D.  1203  ( T.  82  ;  (?.  DCCXLV),  directed  to  the  Archbishop 
of  Canterbury  ;  the  first  pointing  out  the  frequency  of 
injuries  done  and  the  daily  failure  of  justice  due  to  the 
Abbot  and  Brethren  of  Margam,  and  detailing  the  various 
modes  of  punishment  to  the  wrongdoers.  The  leaden 
Bulla  of  the  Pope  is  appended  by  strands  of  green  and 
yellow  silk.  It  is  endorsed  "  Innocentius  IIIUS  .  Non 
absque  dolore  De  Margan  ;"  and  in  a  later  hand,  "  A  pro- 
hibition to  wronge  the  Howse  of  Morgan,"  dated  at 
Anagni,  Nov.  10th,  A.D.  1203.  The  second  (T.  84 ; 
C.  DCCXLVI)  followed  the  above  Bull  in  a  few  days, 
directed  as  before,  and  confirming  the  apostolic  privileges 
of  Margam  Abbey,  granted  by  his  predecessors  in  respect 
to  exemption  from  payment  of  tithes,  of  the  labours 
performed  by  the  hands  or  acquired  by  the  money  of  the 
Abbey,  or  the  food  of  their  beasts,  and  forbidding  any 
infringement  thereof  by  some  who  interpret  as  relating  to 
crops  what  is  written  of  labours,  under  penalty  of  excom- 
munication ;  and  further,  he  who  lays  violent  hands  on 
any  of  the  brethren  is  to  be  publicly  excommunicated 
accensis  candelis,  with  lighted  candles,  until  he  makes 
proper  satisfaction,  and  presents  himself  before  the  Pope 
with  letters  of  the  Bishop  of  the  diocese  in  explanation  of 
the  truth  of  the  matter.1  Dated  at  Anagni,  20  Nov., 
A.D.  1203. 

The  third  Bull  (T.  83  ;  C.  DCCXLVII)  is  addressed  to 
Gilbert,  Abbot  of  Margam,  and  takes  the  Abbey  of 
St.  Mary  under  the  protection  of  St.  Peter  and  his  own, 
enjoining  their  perpetual  possession  of  the  goods  and 
property  of  the  Abbey.  Then  follows  a  list  of  all  the 
lands,  and  in  the  list  we  find  the  land  of  Havedhaloc, 
with  all  its  appurtenances.  After  that  follow  sundry 
privileges  and  injunctions.  A  charter  of  King  John  con- 
firms the  various  grants  made  to  the  Abbey,  and  one  is 

1  Dr.  Birch,  Margam  Abbey. 


the  grant  of  Morgan,  son  of  Oein,  in  Havedhaloch,  between 
Kenefeg  and  Baithan,  that  is,  land  to  the  east  and  north- 
east of  the  Kenfig  River  and  west  of  the  River  Baiden.1 

The  grant  by  Morgan,  son  of  Oein  or  Owen  (T.  120  ; 
C.  DCCLIII)  cannot  be  earlier  than  A.D.  1214,  and  is  of  the 
whole  land  of  Havedhalok,  between  the  waters  of  Kenefeg 
and  Baithan,  towards  the  mountains  to  the  cross  near  the 
highway,  at  a  yearly  rent  of  twenty  shillings,  with  under- 
taking of  the  grantor  to  perform  certain  services.  Pledged 
and  sworn  on  the  Sacrosancta  of  Margam  Church.  One 
of  the  witnesses  is  D.  Gervase,  Bishop  of  St.  David's."2 

T.  122  (C.  DCOCCLXIII)  seems  to  have  been  found  neces- 
sary as  a  pendant  to  the  deed  above  mentioned.  It  is  a 
quit-claim  by  Madok,  son  of  Resus,  to  Margam  Abbey,  of 
the  land  of  Heved-Halok,  in  accordance  with  the  terms  of 
Morgan  ab  Oweyri's  charter.  And  he  will  be  faithful  to 
the  House  of  Margam,  and  will  defend  its  property  and 
cattle  as  if  they  were  his  own  ;  this  he  swears  on  the 
Sanctuaria  of  Margam  ;  given  under  the  seal  of  Morgan 
ab  Oweyri,  because  he  has  no  seal.  The  witnesses  are 
Morgan,  son  of  Owein  ;  Maurice,  priest  of  St.  Cadoc  ; 
Maurice,  parson  of  St.  Julita,  and  others.  Morgan  ab 
Owein's  seal,  an  ornamental  fleur-de-lis  : — 3 

>fc  S'MORGANI  .  AB  .  OEINT. 

The  buildings  at  Hafodheulog  are  all  modern,  having 
been  built  fifty-five  years  ago.  Mrs.  David,  the  tenant's 
wife,  told  me  that  when  they  were  taking  the  old  buildings 
down  they  found,  under  the  plaster  of  ages,  carved  on  the 
wall  the  figure  of  a  man  :  this  was  in  the  part  used  then 
as  a  dairy. 

Hafod-heulog  is  prettily  situated  500  yards  to  the 
west  of  the  Kenfig  river.  North  of  it  opens  out  the 
Kerifig  valley,  up  which,  2|-  miles  oft,  is  the  source  of 
the  river,  which  rises  near  the  Bodvoc  stone.  The 
mountains  rise  rapidly,  and  half-way  to  the  Bodvoc  stone, 

1  Baiden,  a  little,  lively,  sparkling  brook. 

2  Gervase,  Bishop  of  St.  David's,  A.D.  1214  to  1229. 

3  Dr.  Birch,  Margam  Abbay.     In  this  Deed  Owen  is  spelled  Oweyn 
and  Owein. 


Moel  Ton  Mawr  rises  to  a  height  of  1,000  ft.  on  the  west 
of  the  valley.    Near  the  source  of  the  Kenfig  river,  a  line 
of  intrenchments  is  crossed  by  the  river.     It  runs  from  a 
point    west   of    Moel   Ton    Mawr,1   in   a   north-easterly 
direction,  for  almost  two  miles,  having  a  camp  at  either 
end,  and  a  little  north  and  east  of  the  centre  of  the  line 
is  a  Roman  halting-camp;  a  mile  or  so  further  west-south- 
west is  another  camp  close  to  Margam  Castle.      These 
intrenchments  appear  to  me  to  have  been  constructed 
to    bar  the  way  eastward  of  a  force  coming  up  the  Cwm 
Philip  Valley  behind  the  Abbey,  or  to  protect   a  force 
coming  up  the  valley  from  the  lowlands  on  to  the  high 
ground    towards    Bodvoc's    grave,    from    hostile    forces 
attacking  it  from  the  east  or  hill    country.     South   of 
Hafod-heulog  rises  a  ridge,  Cefn  Cribwr,2  or  La  Rigge3 
in  the  Margam  MSS.     This  ridge  runs  east  and   west, 
and  rises  to  a  height  of  400  ft  above  sea  level.      The 
ridge  is  composed  of  the  conglomerates  and  shales  of  the 
millstone  grit  underlying  the    coal   measures.     On  the 
west  end  of  the  ridge  is  a  British  camp,  referred  to  in  a 
grant  of  land  by  Gunnilda,   wife  of  Roger  Sturmi,   to 
Margam  Abbey,  as  the  old  castle — vetus  castellum.    West 
of  Hafod-heulog  is  what  I  think  must  be  the  part  called 
La  Wareth    Moor,  and  it  still  is  in  part  a  moor.     La 
Wareth,so  called  from  Llywarch,  son  of  Meredydd  or,  as 
sometimes  written,  Meruit ;  we  have  Gwaun  Llywarch 
at  Trisant. 

Half  a  mile  south  of  Hafod-heulog  is  Pentre,4  a  farm 
mentioned  in  the  Crown  Sale  to  Sir  Rice  Mansel.  Near 
by  it  are  the  slight  traces  of  the  Capel  Trisant.  There 
are  several  houses  and  farms  clustered  about  this  spot : 
Ty'n-yr-heol,5  Pen- y- bryn,6  Nant-y-Neuadd,7  Troed-y- 

1  Moel  Ton  Mawr.     The  Great  green-sward  Hill ;    a  bald  rounded 
hill,  i.e.,  not  wooded. 

2  Cefn  Cribwr.     Cefn — a  ridge ;   Cribwr  probably  a  corruption  of 
Cribaith — a  bold  hill  ridge,  or  brink  of  the  bold  hill. 

3  La  Rigge.     A  corruption  of  ridge,  probably. 

4  Pentre.     A  village  or  hamlet;  a  corruption  of  Pentre v. 

5  Ty'n-yr-heol.     A  house  in  the  road. 

6  Pen-y-bryn.     The  top  of  the  hill. 

7  Nant-y-neuadd.     The  dingle  or  brook  of  the  hall. 


rhiw,1  Cwm  Trisant,2  Pant-ysgawen,3  Ty  Fry,4  Ton 
Owen,0  Trail wyn,6  Fynon-Iago-fawr,7  and  Fynon-Iago- 
fach.8  It  seems  to  me  the  Capel  Trisant  may  have 
been  the  chapel  of  Hafod-heulog,  which,  as  I  have  said, 
is  just  half  a  mile  south  of  it.  Ffynon-Iago  is  near 
Ffynon-Iago-fawr  farm,  and  no  doubt  is  so  named  after 
St.  James,  thus  indicating  one  of  the  three  Saints  to 
whom  the  chapel  was  dedicated.  Then  we  have  Ton 
Philip  and  Cwm  Philip  in  the  neighbourhood,  also  a 
valley  called  Cwm  Maelwg,  so  it  may  be  the  third  saint 
is  St.  Maelwg.  About  a  mile  west-south-west  from 
Hafod-heulog  is  the  farm  Longlarid,  referred  to  in  the 
Margam  MSS.  This  farm  is  some  400  yards  west  of 
the  Kenfig  river,  and  is  about  120  ft.  above  sea-level. 

The  Kenfig  valley  brings  to  our  notice  an  interesting 
case.  The  Abbot  of  Margam  held  all  his  lands  of  the 
County  of  Cardiff  in  chief,  as  is  shown  by  the  report  of 
an  inquiry  at  the  County  Court  of  Glamorgan  (T.  389  ; 
C.  MLVII),  Monday  before  St.  Lawrence's  Day,  A.D.  1299, 
before  D.  Symon  de  Raleye,  Sheriff  of  Glamorgan,  and  the 
Earl's  Council.  It  sets  forth  that  whereas  the  Abbot  ot 
Margam  holds  all  his  lands  of  Cardiff  County  in  chief, 
and  the  "famulus,"  or  clerk,  of  the  said  County  alone 
performing  the  duty  of  coroner  in  the  Abbot's  lands, 
Traharn  Du  (Black  Traherne),  Bedell  of  Tyriarthe  (Tir- 
larll,  the  Earl's  land)  had  by  usurpation  held  a  coroner's 
inquest  on  the  body  of  Philip  Sparke,  who  met  his  death 

1  Troed-y-rhiw.     Foot  of  the  steep  path  or  road  up  the  hill. 

2  Cwm  Trisant.   The  Dingle  of  the  Three  Saints,  probably  S.S.  Philip. 
James,  and  Michael.     We  obtain  two  of  the  names  of  the  Saints  from 
Cwm  Philip,  and   Ton  Philip,   and   Ffynon   lago — St.  James's  Well. 
There   is  Heol   Fadog  and  Nant  Fadog — Madoc's  road  and  Madoc's 
brook  or  dingle,  so  the  third  Saint  may  be  St.  Madoc  or  St.  Michael,  as 
we  have  Llanmihangel  —the  church  of  St.  Michael — not  far  away. 

3  Pant-ysgawen.     The  hollow  of  the  alder  tree. 

4  Ty-fry.     The  house  high  up  on  the  mountain.      Ty — house  ;  and 
fry — very  high.  . 

5  Ton  Owen.      Owen's  rounded  hill,  covered  with  sward,  but  no 
trees;  probably  so  called  after  Owein,   father  of  Morgan,   a  son  or 
brother  of  Morgan  ap  Caradoc,  who  gave  Hafod-heulog  to  the  monks. 

0  Trallwyn.     Trallwng  is  the  correct  spelling.     A  quagmire  or  bog. 
7  and   8.   Ffynon-Iago  fawr   and   fach.      St.   James's    Well  —  large 
and  small. 


in  Cvvm  Kenefeg,  to  the  prejudice  of  the  liberty  of  the 
county,  therefore  the  said  Traharn  shall  be  imprisoned. 

Abbot  William  (Corntoun)  leased  for  their  lives  (T.26S  ; 
C.  MCCLXXXVII)  the  reversion  of  the  Grange  of  Hafod- 
heulog — Havothaloke,  as  the  scribe  in  the  monastery 
thought  it  should  be  spelled — to  John  ap  Thomas  ap 
Richard  and  Richard  ap  Thomas  ap  Richard  (probably 
brothers)  after  the  decease  of  Thomas  ap  Richard  (the 
father),  as  the  said  Thomas  and  Richard  ap  Jevan  ap 
Howell  held  it,  and  the  reversion  of  the  tithes,  the  lessees 
to  maintain  all  buildings,  ditches  and  fences  at  their  own 
cost.  They  may  build  a  fulling-mill  on  the  fee  of  the 
grange,  for  which  they  are  to  pay  a  rent  of  two  shillings 
yearly.  Dated  in  the  Chapter  House,  Margam  Monastery, 
2  Richard  III,  A.D.  1484. 

The  first  donor  of  land  belonging  to  this  Grange  was 
Kenewreic,  son  of  Herbert  (T.  289,  2  ;  C.  DCCXVI),  and 
this  land  was  probably  that  on  the  west  of  the  river 
Kenfig,  and  on  which  the  Grange  buildings  stood.  The 
grant  by  Morgan,  son  of  Owen'(T.  120  ;  C.  DCCLIII),  of 
the  whole  land  of  Havedhalok  between  the  waters  of 
Kenefeg  and  Baithan,  towards  the  mountains  to  the  cross 
near  the  highway,  refers  to  the  land  east  of  the  Kenfig, 
between  it  and  the  Baiden  river.  The  rent,  20s.  annually, 
with  undertaking  of  the  grantor  to  perform  services. 
Sworn  on  the  Sanctuaria  of  Margam.1  Among  others,  this 
deed  is  witnessed  by  D.  Gervase,  Bishop  of  St.  David's, 
in  whose  presence  the  grant  was  made,  and  whose  seal  is 
appended  :  Martin,  Archdeacon  of  St.  David's,  Master 
Mathias  of  Brechen  (Brecknock),  Master  H.  D.  Cluna 
(Hugh  de  Cluna,  afterwards  Archdeacon  of  St.  David's, 
1222),  Master  William  de  Capella,  Henry  de  Umfra- 
muille  ;  Reimund  de  Sulie,  William  de  Sumery,  and 

Dr.  Birch  says  this  Morgan  was  either  the  son  of  Owein, 
brother  of  Morgan  ap  Caradoc,  or  of  Owen,  son  of  Morgan 
ap  Caradoc.  It  was  Morgan  ap  Caradoc  who  guided 
Archbishop  Baldwin  and  Giraldus  Cambrensis  across  the 
marsh  of  A  van,  on  their  way  to  Swansea,  preaching  the 

1  Endorsed  :  "  Carta  Morgian  filii  Owein  de  Hefedhaloch."  This 
grant  was  confirmed  by  King  John,  A.D.  1205. 


crusade,  in  1188  A. D.     He  was  descended  from  lestyn  ap 
Gwrgan,  and  was  the  founder  of  the  family  of  de  Avenes 
— Dauene  =  d'Avene  ;  Lords  of  Afan. 

Owen  agreed  to  reduce  the  rent  of  20s.  for  Hafodheuiog, 
in  consequence  of  the  vast  amount  of  damage  he  had 
done  to  the  Abbey,  to  2s.  (T.  140  ;  C.  DCCOCXXXV),  with 
penalty  of  excommunication  by  the  Bishop  of  Llandaff  in 
case  of  his  breaking  the  agreement,  and  power  to  the 
Earl  of  Gloucester's  bailiffs  of  Neth  (Neath)  and  Land- 
trissen  (Llantrisant)  Castles  to  enforce  performance. 

Near  Hafod-heulog  is  a  farm  named  in  the  Margam 
MSS.  Havoth-duga,  Havod-y-dyga.  It  is,  no  doubt, 
Hafod -decaf,  the  fairest  summer  abode.  So  we  have 
Hafod,  the  summer  abode;  Hafod-heulog,  the  sunny 
summer  abode;  and  Hafod-decaf,  the  fairest  summer 


This  Grange  is  situated  close  to  the  Kenfig  River,  in  a 
bend  made  by  the  river,  which,  after  running  south  south- 
west, turns  and  runs  nearly  due  north,  so  that  seen 
from  the  train  the  river  appears  to  be  running  from 
the  sea,  as  if  it  were  too  coy  to  go  straight  on  to 
it.  The  Grange  is  50  ft.  above  datum  line,  and  from  it  to 
the  sea  is  two  and  a-half  miles  ;  about  a  mile  west  of  the 
Grange  is  Fitz-Hamon's  Castle,  and  near  by,  the  site  of 
the  ancient  town  of  Kenfig.  Leland  the  antiquary,  who 
visited  these  parts  in  A.D.  1540,  in  his  Itinerary  writes : 
"  From  Newton  to  Kenfike  Ry  ver  a  vi  miles.  Of  these 
vi  miles  3  be  hygh  cliffes  on  the  shore,  the  other  low 
shore  and  sandy  ground.  For  the  Rages  of  Severn  Se 
casteth  ther  up  much  sand  ....  Kenfike  is  a  small 
Broke  and  cummith  by  estimation  not  past  a  3  miles  of 
out  of  the  Mores  thereabout."  Do  not  inquire  too  closely 
into  John  Leland's  estimated  distances,  for  in  truth  they 
are  as  faulty  as  is  his  spelling.  I  will  just  give  one  instance 
of  his  distances  "by  estimation."  Kenfig  River  is  about 
eight  miles  in  length  from  its  source — high  up  on  Margam 
mountain  (1,100  ft.  above  datum  line),  quite  close  to 
Bodvoc's  grave — to  the  sea,  Leland  says  three  miles. 

1905  * 


Old  Kentig  town  had,  long  before  his  visit,  been  over- 
whelmed with  sand,  and  Leland  writes  of  the  new  town 
thus  :  "  There  is  a  little  village  on  the  Est  side  of  Kenfik, 
and  a  castel,  both  in  ruine  and  almost  shokid  and  de- 
vourid  with  the  sandes  that  the  Severn  Se  casteth  up." 
Kenfig  River  being  the  parish  boundary,  I  must  say  no 
more  of  Kenfig  and  the  Margam  Grange  there,  in  this 
Part,  but  leave  it  for  another  paper,  except  as  to  the 
fishing,  which  of  course  is  partly  in  Margam. 

Three  Papal  Bulls  are  again  addressed  by  Pope 
Alexander  IV,  each  following  closely  upon  the  other  in 
the  year  AD.  1261  :  First,  to  the  Abbot  of  Citeaux  and  all 
the  Abbots  of  the  Cistercian  Order,  confirming  the  privi- 
lege that  no  one  may  summon  them  or  the  persons  of 
their  monasteries  to  synods  or  foreign  assemblies,  except 
in  matter  of  faith,  without  permission  of  the  Apostolic 
See  (T.  173  ;  C.  DCCCCLXXIX),  with  leaden  Bulla  of  the 
Pope,  dated  Lateran,  9  Jan.,  A.D.  1261. 

The  second  (T.  174  :  <7.  DCCCCLXXX)  is  very  similar  to 
the  above,  dated  Lateran,  15  Feb.,  A.D.  1261.  The 
third  (T.  171 ;  293,  27  ;  C.  DCUCCLXXXL)  is  addressed  to 
the  Abbot  of  Margam,  and  begins  by  receiving  the  Abbey 
of  St.  Mary  into  the  protection  of  St.  Peter  and  his  own, 
and  confirms  to  the  Abbey  the  gifts  arid  grants  made  to 
it  by  various  benefactors,  and  names  among  the  other 
lands  and  farms  the  Grange  of  St.  Michael.  The  leaden 
Bulla  still  remains  appended  to  this  charter.  Dated,  3 
March,  A.D.  1261. 

There  are  comparatively  few  references  or  deeds  re- 
lating to  St.  Michael's  Grange,  and  St.  Michael's  Mill, 
near  by,  on  the  Kenfig  River.  The  Cistercian  Order 
seldom  came  into  contact  with  the  secular  Courts,  and 
one  of  the  few  instances  in  which  it  was  done  occurs  in 
connection  with  St.  Michael's  Grange. 

The  proceedings  at  the  Glamorgan  County  Court 
before  Gilbert  de  Ellesfeld,  Sheriff  of  Glamorgan,  are 
recorded  (T.  229  ;  C.  MCLXXXII),  and  whereat  Brother 
John  was  indicted  for  robbing  David  de  Gower  of  fifteen- 
pence  at  the  Borwes  (burrows  or  sand-dunes)  ;  and 
Brother  Meuric,  of  St.  Michael's  Grange,  for  giving  money 
and  food  to  John  ap  Griffith  and  Rees  ap  Griffith,  felons 


and  outlaws  ;  but  the  accused  say  they  are  brethren  and 
conversi  (lay  brethren)  of  the  Abbey  of  Morgan,  and  there- 
fore they  ought  to  appear  before  their  own  ordinaries  ; 
it  is  asked  of  them  if  they  are  clerks  ordained,  and  if 
they  know  how  to  read,  and  a  book  is  given  to  them, 
for  proof  that  they  declare  themselves  professed  religious, 
i.e.,  monks,  and  are  not  bound  to  answer.  And  there- 
upon came  Master  David  ap  Rees,  clerk  by  virtue  of 
the  Bishop  of  LlaridafTs  commission,  to  him,  and  caused 
the  accused  to  be  delivered  to  him  for  trial  in  an  Eccle- 
siastical Court.  But  the  Sheriff  and  the  said  Master 
David  disputed  whether  the  delinquents  were  professed, 
and  so  entitled  to  their  privilege  of  clergy.  Eventually 
the  Sheriff  admitted  the  plea,  and  made  inquest  whether 
they  (Brothers  John  and  Meuric)  were  guilty  or  not,  so  as 
to  deliver  them  up  to  the  said  David  :  they  were  tried, 
found  not  guilty,  and  released.  Cardiff,  26  May,  32 
Edw.  Ill,  A.D.  1358. 

Fine  impression  of  the  Seal  of  Cardiff  Chancery,  green 
wax,  chipped,  3j  in.  diam. 

Obverse:  an  armed  knight,  with  hauberk,  sword,  helmet, 
crested  with  a  griffin's  head  and  wings,  erect,  and  shield 
of  arms  ;  riding  to  the  right  on  a  horse  caparisoned  with 
the  same  arms. 

Z  :  MORG  . 

Reverse  :  a  shield  of  the  same  arms,  slung  by  the  guige, 
upon  a  forked  tree,  within  an  elaborately-traced  bilobe  or 
panel  of  cusped  Gothic  openwork. 


Endorsed  :  Inquisicio  pro  felonicis. 

The  rivers  Afan  and  Kenfig  were  good  salmon  and 
sewin  rivers — and  indeed  were  until  recent  years,  when 
works  were  established  in  the  valleys  and  spoiled  them. 
There  were  constant  disputes  about  the  fishing,  and  in 
A.D.  13«5  we  find  the  record  of  a  mandate  (T.  231  ; 
C.  MCLXXXVII)  by  the  Rector  of  Coytif  and  the  Rural  Dean 
of  Gronyth  (Groneath),  special  commissioners  to  Thomas 
Louel,  Clerk,  to  cite  John  Philip  of  Kenefeg,  Rees  ap 


Griff'  Gethyn  of  Avene  (Aberavan),  Hoel  ap  Griff'  Hagur, 
and  others,  to  appear  before  the  commissaries  in  answer 
to  a  charge  of  unlawful  fishing  in  Kenefeeg  is  Foil1  and 
in  the  Avene,  brought  against  them  by  Margam  Abbey, 
on  pain  of  excommunication.  Dated,  Coytif,  2  Nov.,  A.D. 
13G5.  They  appeared,  and  the  proceedings  take  the 
form  of  a  record  (T.  232;  C.  MCLXXXVIII)  of  a  process 
before  the  Dean  of  Gronyth,  in  the  Church  of  Kenefeeg, 
in  the  case  between  the  Abbot  and  Rees  ap  Griff'  Gethyn, 
and  others,  concerning  the  taking  of  fish  in  the  Avene  by 
the  said  Rees  and  the  others :  wherein  the  said  Rees 
confesses  that  he  took  fish  in  the  water  and  fishery  of 
Avene,  and  said  that  he  had  taken  them  justly.  He 
was  ordered  to  prove  his  right  on  the  following  Monday 
at  Newcastle  Church  (Bridgend).  John  Philpot  and  the 
other  confess  to  having  fished  in  the  water  and  fishery 
of  Kenfig  and  Avene,  and  are  left  to  the  grace  and 
absolution  of  the  Abbot.  Eventually,  at  Kenfig,  Rees 
delivered  in  his  defence  that  his  ancestors  had  forfeited 
their  jurisdiction  in  their  Courts,  and  the  Abbot  ex- 
hibited deeds  of  appropriation,  confirmation,  and  agree- 
ment to  prove  their  right.  Then  Rees  admitted  that 
after  Robert  Fitzhaymon  had  conquered  the  here- 
ditary land  of  him  (Rees),  and  others,  with  the  water 
and  fishery  in  dispute  two  hundred  and  seventeen  years 
past,  he,  the  said  Robert,  gave  the  said  fishery  to  Margam 
Abbey  in  recompense  for  injuries  it  had  received  at  the 
hands  of  his  (Rees')  ancestors.  6  Nov.,  A.D.  1365. 

Subsequently  (T.  233 ;  C.  MCXC),  at  an  Assize  at 
Novel-dissein,  before  a  jury  of  twelve,  in  the  Glamorgan 
County  Court  at  Cardiff,  Wore  Sir  Edward  de  Strate- 
lyng,  Knt.  (le  Esterling),  Sheriff  of  Glamorgan  and 
Morgan,  John  Abbot  of  Margam  recovers  forty  shillings 
damages  and  his  fishery  of  salmons,  gillyngs,  suwyngs, 
and  other  fish  in  the  water  of  Avene,  from  the  head 
thereof  to  the  place  where  it  goes  into  the  sea  (the 
fishery  is  worth  £10  yearly),  against  Rees,  son  of  Griffin 
Gethyn,  and  Howel,  son  of  Griffin  Hagqr,  each  of  whom 

1  Kenefeeg  is  Foil  in  the  deed  =  Kenfig  Pool.  The  pool  is  not  con- 
nected with  the  river,  and  is  surrounded  by  high  ground  and  sand- 
dunes,  and  has  no  visible  outlet. 


is  fined  3d.  damages.  Monday  before  Midsummer  Day, 
A,D.  1366. 

Some  of  the  land  near,  and  no  doubt  belonging  to  the 
Grange  of  St.  Michael,  was  given  by  members  of  the 
Gramus  family.  A  somewhat  interesting  deed  in  the 
Harley  Charter,  75  C.  7  (T.  289,  40  ;  C.  DCCCCXX),  is  a 
quit-claim  by  Roger  Gramus  to  the  monks  of  Margam,  of  a 
rent  of  half  a  silver  mark  yearly  rent,  due  by  them  to 
him,  paying  a  yearly  recognisance  of  a  pair  of  white 
gloves,  or  Id.  at  Easter,  and  to  his  wife,  Agnes,  a  prebend 
yearly  for  her  support,  viz.,  she  is  to  have  every  week 
seven  conventual  loaves  and  five  gallons  of  beer  from  the 
Convent ;  a  crannoc1  of  gruellum  (meal),  the  same  amount 
of  beans,  and  a  bushel  of  salt,  once  yearly  at  Michaelmas. 
Dated,  Midsummer  Day,  A.D.  1245. 

St.  Michael's  Mill  lies  just  to  the  south  of  the  Grange, 
on  the  Margam  side  of  the  Kenfig  river.  The  buildings 
are  comparatively  new. 

In  the  Crown  Sale  to  Sir  Rice  Manxell,  Knight,  we  find 
included  with  the  site  of  the  late  dissolved  Abbey,  the 
church,  bell-tower,  the  fishery  in  the  water  of  the  Avene, 
various  granges  and  lands — "St.  Michael's  Grange."  The 
sum  was  £938  6s.  8d.,  a  sum  equal  in  our  days  to  over 
£9,000.  All  to  be  held  as  the  last  Abbot  Lodowicus 
Thomas  held  them,  for  the  twentieth  part  of  a  knight's 

And  in  the  Crown  Sale  (T.  366  ;  C.  MCCCLX)  for 
£678  Is.  6d.,  also  to  Sir  Rice  Maunxell,  Knight,  we  find 
included  with  various  manors  and  lands,  "  Seynt 
Mychaelles  Mille,  in  the  parish  of  Margam."  The  sum 
paid  is  equal  to  £6,700  in  our  days. 

The  Great  Seal  of  King  Henry  VIII,  in  bronze-green 
wax,  is  still  appended  to  the  documents,  by  green  and 
white  silk  strands.  The  first  document  is  dated  22  June, 
32  Hen.  VIII,  A.D.  1540. 

T.  227  ;  C.  MCLXVIII.  This  a  quit-claim  by  William  de 
Marie  to  Margam  Abbey,  of  pasture  for  oxen,  cows,  and 
other  beasts  in  the  Grange  of  Saint  Michaele,  which  "  ex 
quadam  animi  levitate"  he  had  once  claimed,  as  if  he  had 

1  Cranock — 10  bushels. 


any  right  therein ;  he  is,  however,  "  now  moved  by  the 
spirit  of  truth,"  "  noveritis  me  spiritu  ductum  veritatis." 

Margarn,  Midsummer  Day,  A.D.  1344. 

Llantnihangel.  The  "  mi-hangel"  stands  for  Mich-angel, 
like  the  French  Michel  Ange.  Haf  Bach  Mihangel  cor- 
responds to  St.  Luke's  Little  Summer,  October  18th.  The 
festival  is  Gwyl  Fihangel ;  note  the  mutation  so  frequent 
in  Welsh,  "  m"  into  "f."  St.  Michael's  Mill  was  let  to 
tenants.  An  extract  from  the  Court  of  Abbot  John  at 
Kenfig  (T.  284  :  C.  MCCCXXVIII),  whereby  Thomas  ap 
David  ap  Hoell,  John  ap  Thomas,  David  ap  Hoell,  and 
John  ap  John,  his  son,  are  admitted  tenants  in  the 
water-mill  called  "  Seynt  Mizchell  is  Mylle,"  rent,  40s., 
and  court  suit,  two  capons  or  4c£.  for  entry.  Before 
Sir  Mathew  Cradock,  Knight,  Steward.  15th  October, 
A.D.  1527. 

It  is  much  to  be  regretted  that  no  record  of  any  kind 
has  been  kept  of  the  old  Granges'  buildings ;  all  have 
been  rebuilt  except  part  of  the  Court  farm  and  the  new 
Grange  (in  ruins),  and  Theodoric's  Grange  (in  ruins).  At 
Hafod,  I  found  a  part  of  a  window-jamb  in  Sutton  stone 
—the  stone  used  so  much  by  mediaeval  builders  in  these 
parts.  It  is  soft  when  freshly  quarried,  and  hardens  by 
time,  and  is  a  nice  creamy  white  in  colour  A.  former 
tenant  of  Hafod  informed  me  of  a  stone  which  is  there, 
and  which  has  a  hole  through  it ;  he  believed,  he  said 
to  me,  it  was  used  for  some  devilish  practices  of  the 
Catholics  !  It  is,  no  doubt,  the  stone  which  was  attached 
to  the  piscina — a  drain-pipe.  • 

I  was  surprised  to  see,  so  far  from  the  Abbey  ruins,  or 
quarry,  as  it  was  for  years,  at  Farteg  farm,  north  of 
Hafod,  many  dressed  Sutton  stones  in  its  walls.  It 
occurred  to  me  they  never  would  cart  these  stones  from 
the  Abbey  so  many  miles,  and  up  such  steep  roads,  and 
that  they  must  have  been  brought  from  the  chapel  of 
Hafod  when  it  was  demolished. 

There  are  two  ways  of  reaching  the  sleepy  hollow  in 
which  lies  this  Grange  with  its  noble  barn  :  a  barn  so 
high  and  long  that  one  thinks,  a  little  way  off,  it  is  the 
nave  of  a  church.  One  way  is  from  the  turnpike  road  at 


Pyle,  turning  off  at  right  angles,  arid  where  you  come  to 
a  round-headed  stone  inscribed  with  a  cross  of  equal  arms, 
12  or  13  ins.  long1 — it  now  marks  the  Parliamentary 
boundary — you  turn  off  into  a  narrow  lane,  and  pass 
through  the  mill-yard  (St.  Michael's  Mill),  and  on  again 
through  a  lane,  and,  as  I  say,  the  first  sight  of  the  great 
high  barn  strikes  you  as  being  a  church.  "  Hen  ysgubor" 
it  is  called — "  the  old  barn."  The  tenant  told  me  it  had 
been  a  tithe- barn.  The  other  is  along  the  Roman  road, 
and  across  the  sands,  but  it  is  a  terribly  bad  one. 

The  barn  is  on  higher  ground  than  the  house  itself. 
It  is  109  ft.  in  length,  31  ft.  in  width,  and  18  ft.  6  in.  in 
height  to  the  eaves.  The  whole  barn  inside  is  plastered 
to  the  ceiling ;  the  openings  for  air  and  light  are  widely 
splayed  inwards,  with  dressed  Quarella  stone-work, 
shaped  to  the  splay,  similar  to  those  in  the  centre  dormer 
window  of  the  Grange  of  Theodoric's  Hermitage.2  Two 
great  doorways  open  opposite  each  other  in  the  centre  of 
the  building,  and  these  are  spurred  at  each  side.  The 
whole  building  has  the  lower  part  of  the  side  walls 
spurred  out  towards  the  base  ;  the  only  other  building  I 
know  of  in  Margam  having  this  strengthening  at  the  base 
is  the  New  Grange,  now  known  as  the  Old  Pine  End — 
"  Hen  Biniwn."  The  barn  was  covered  with  tile-stones, 
but  the  roof  fell  in  recently,  the  weight,  coupled  with  the 
rotting  of  the  timber- work,  probably  caused  the  collapse. 

The  farmhouse  is  interesting,  and,  so  far  as  I  can 
judge,  may  well  be  of  late  Abbey  times.1  The  ceiling 
and  bedroom  floors  are  supported  on  massive  oak  beams. 
Each  window  has  a  square  label,  which  is  hollowed ;  the 
jambs  and  mullions  are  stone.3  The  large  boiler  in  the 
yard  is  in  a  peculiar  recess  in  the  kitchen  wall.  This 
recess  has  jambs  in  stone,  in  section,  the  same  as  the 
window-jambs  and  mullions.  The  walls  are  also  spurred 
at  the  base,  similarly  to  the  barn. 

1  This  cross  is  known  locally  as  Groes  Siencyn.       I  have  not  been 
able  to  find  any  record  of  it. 

2  See  plan  of  building  and  details  in  "  The  Hermitage  of  Theodoric 
and  Site  of  Pendar,"  Arch.  (Jamb.,  April,  1903. 

3  Mr.  J.  T.  Micklethwaite  writes  me  that  the  date  of  the  window  at 
St.   Michael's  may  be  circa  A.D.  1600  ...     "It  is  not  safe  to  give  an 
opinion  from  a  drawing  of  one  example,  without    knowledge  of  the 
work  of  the  neighbourhood." 


The  Grange  of  St.  Michael  stands  only  at  a  level  of  50 
ft.  above  the  sea,  and  nearly  all  round  it  are  hills  of  1 00 
ft.  high,  which  nestle  close  about  it ;  so  it  is  no  wonder 
the  river,  which  runs  close  to  the  house,  had  difficulty  in 
finding  its  way  safe  to  sea,  and  turns  and  twists  so.  A.S 
I  said  before,  anyone  standing  and  looking  at  the  Kenfig 
(Cenfig  it  should  be,  as  "  k  "  was  never  born  in  Welsh), 
and  knowing  on  which  hand  lay  the  Severn  Sea  would 
think  the  river  had  turned  from  its  saltness,  and  was 
going  again  towards  the  hills  whence  it  had  but  just 
come.  So  hot  is  this  sleepy  hollow  in  the  sultry  summer 
days,  that  the  dairy  has  to  be  covered  with  turf,  and  is 
now  a  bright  green  patch  of  grass. 

The  Kenfig  soon  relents  and  turns  again  to  sea — the 
sea  where  *'  Hafren"  and  her  mother  were  drowned.  In 
Geoffrey  of  Monmouth  we  read  that  Locrinus,  son  of 
Brutus,  divided  the  land  of  Britain  between  his  brother 
Camber  and  Albanactus  and  himself,  and  destroyed 
Humber,  King  of  the  Huns.  He  found  in  a  ship  belong- 
ing to  Humber  three  ladies  of  celestial  beauty.  One  was 
Essyllt,  who  became  his  queen,  and  gave  her  name  to 
the  land  of  Wye  and  Usk,  and  the  other  Hafren,  who 
gave  her  name  to  the  Severn  Sea,  and  the  Welsh  keep  it 
so  to-day. 

The  "  big  barn"  lies  true  north  and  south,  and  the  front 
of  the  farm  faces  south. 

In  the  South  Pine  end  of  the  barn  are  two  rows  of 
pigeon-holes,  with  ledges  above  the  holes.  The  holes  do 
not  pass  through  the  wall.  On  the  North  Pine  End  of  the 
farmhouse  are  exactly  similar  pigeon-holes.  The  house 
is  about  85  ft.  in  length,  and  is  nearly  true  north  and 
south  in  position. 


We  find  no  mention  of  this  Grange  in  the  Margam 
Abbey  deeds  until  the  end  had  come.  In  the  Crown 
Sale  (T.  362  ;  C.  MOCCLl)  to  Sir  Rice  Manxell,  Knight,  for 
£642  9s.  Sd. — a  sum  equal  in  our  days  to  £6,400 — of  the 
Manors  of  Horgrove  and  Pylle  (Pyle),  and  various  lands 
and  granges,  we  find  mentioned  Egloose  Nunney.  In 
the  same  deed  it  is  also  spelled  Egloyse  Nunny.  The 


sum  of  £642  9s.  8d.  was  later  reduced  to  £300  by  the 
King  in  A.D.  1544. 

Writing  about  a  sculptured  stone  at  this  farm,  Profes- 
sor Westwood  calls  it  "  the  cross  of  the  Nunnery  Farm." 
On  the  Ordnance  Map  the  farm  is  called  Eglwysnunyd1 — 
"  on  site  of  Nunnery."  It  was  never  a  nunnery,  and  how 
it  came  to  be  so  called  I  never  could  make  out.  It  is 
simply  one  of  the  Abbey  Granges,  with  its  chapel  dedi- 
cated to  St.  Non,  or  Nonnita,  the  mother  of  St.  David. 
Probably  "  nynyd "  is  the  Welsh  adaptation  of  Non,  or 
Nonnita,  or  Nonna — Eglwys  St.  Nunyd — the  church  of 
St.  Non.  '  Breton  legends  state  that  the  miracle  play  of 
St.  Nonna  was  performed  at  Dirinon,  a  parish  in  Brittany 
(Baring  Gould's  Welsh  Saints,  pp.  189,  190,  and  Arch. 
Camb.,  3rd  Ser.,  vol.  iii,  p.  256). 

Eglwysnunyd  is  pleasantly  situated  on  the  old  Roman 
road  —  the  Via  Julia  Maritima  —  and  at  a  level  of 
about  65  ft.  above  Ordnance  datum.  The  old  Reman 
road  is  now  known  as  Water  Street.  Two  hundred  yards 
south  of  the  farm  is  the  Roman  miliary  stone,  bearing 
the  inscription — 


in  debased  Latin  capitals. 

Professor  Westwood  says  it  bears  locally  the  name 
"  Bedd  Morgan  Morgan  wg"-— the  "Sepulchre  of  Prince 
Morgan."  The  stone  has  also  Ogam  characters  marked 
on  it,  as  will  be  observed  (see  over). 

Eglwysnunyd  was  formerly  a  Gothic  building,  with 
narrow  lancet  windows,  but  entirely  rebuilt.  A  little 
only  remains  of  the  original  structure.  From  one  of  the 
rooms  a  flight  of  steps  leads  to  a  deep  vault  or  archway, 
now  bricked  up,  and  tradition  has  it  that  this  was  one 
entrance  to  a  subterranean  passage  which  led  to  Margam 
Abbey.  I  am  unable  to  say  if  there  is  any  truth  in  the 
tradition,  but  my  friend  Mr.  W.  S.  Powell,  who  formerly 
lived  there,  told  me  he  had  seen  the  entrance  of  this 
passage  at  the  bottom  of  the  steps,  but  how  far  it 

1  In  the  Crown  Sale  to  Sir  Rice  Mansel  it  is  called  Egloose  Nunney, 
and  this  phonetic  spelling  gives  us  the  right  name.  There  is  a  chapel 
called  Capel  Nonny  in  Cardiganshire,  and  one  near  St.  Davids,  Capel 
JS'uimy,  both  dedicated  to  St.  Non. 



extended  he  did  not  know.     This  farm  is  one  of  the  best 
in  the  estate  of  Margam. 

Eglwysnunyd  stands  on  the  edge  of  an  irregular  ridge, 
(varying  from  50  to  300  ft.  above  sea-level.  From  the 
300  ft.  level  the  mountains  rise  quickly  to  600  ft.,  and 

Pumpciuu  Carantorius  Stone, 
near  Eglwysnunyd. 

then,  but  not  so  abruptly,  to  1,000  ft.  altitude),  between 
Margarn  mountains  and  the  sea.  From  the  land  the  ridge 
slopes  to  the  large  plain  called  Morfa  Mawr,  which  has  a 
level  varying  from  12  ft.  to  21  ft.  above  sea-level,  most 
of  which,  as  I  have  before  remarked,  was  in  Abbey  times 
covered  with  the  tide,  especially  at  high  springs.  From 


Eglwysnunyd  a  fine  view  is  obtained  of  the  plain  below, 
fringed  with  the  sand-dunes,  and  the  glittering  sea 
beyond.  The  whole  of  the  four  miles  of  piled- up  sand- 
hills can  be  seen,  the  result  of  "  inundations  of  the  sea," 
as  it  is  termed  in  a  deed  recited  in  T.  253  (C.  MCCLII). 
This  deed  refers  to  the  injury  done  to  the  Abbey  of 
Margam  by  Owen  Glyndower,  and  for  that  reason  King 
Henry  VI  grants  the  restitution  of  lands,  etc.,  lying 
between  Ukgemore  (Ogmore)  and  Gar  we  (Garw)  called 
Egliskeinwir1  (now  Llangeinor),  and  because  of  injury 
done  by  "  various  innundations  of  the  sea,  for  upwards  of 
four  miles." 

:  The  deed  runs,  "  Nos  igitur  in  consideracionem  per- 
missorurn  ac  eciam  pro  eo  quod  dicta  ecclesia  grangie 
et  domus  eidem  pertinentes  tempore  rebellionis  WALLI& 
spoliate  et  destructe  fuerunt  per  OWYNUM  DE  GLENDORE 
et  complices  suos,  et  ulterius  quod  terre  dominice  dicte 
abbatie  et  grangie  ejusdem  submerse  sunt  et  destructe 
per  inundaciones  aquarum  maris  per  spacium  quatuor 
miliariorum  et  ultra."  Dated  under  Royal  seal  of  the 
Duchy  of  Lancaster,  at  Westminster  Palace,  28  April, 
Hen.  VI,  A.D.  1440. 

Eglwysnunyd,  as  I  have  said  before,  stands  on  the 
Roman  Road,  the  Via  Julia  Maritima,  and  in  thinking 
of  the  Welsh  name  for  the  road,  "  Heol-y-troedwyr," 
"  Road  of  the  Foot-soldiers  or  Infantry,"  one  can  imagine, 
on  a  still,  calm  night,  that  one  hears  the  tramp  of  the 
soldiers  of  the  Second  Legion,  whose  headquarters,  were 
at  Caerleon,  passing  along  on  the  road  to  Neath  (Nidum) 
and  Loughor  (Leucarum) ;  Welsh,  Llwchwr.  The  tradi- 
tion of  the  Roman  occupation  became  lost  in  the  mists 
of  ages,  and  the  inhabitants  thought  the  name  Heol-y- 
troedwyr  must  be  Heol  troad-dwr,  "  the  road  of  the 
turning  of  the  water ;"  and  so  it  is  called  to-day, 
shortened  into  "  Water  Street "  in  English. 

A  little  north  of  Eglwysnunyd  is  Cwrt-y-defaid,  or,  as  it 
is  named  in  the  Crown  Sale  to  Sir  Rice  Mansel,  "  Shepes 
My  lie".;  Cwrt-y-defaid  is  Sheep  Court,  or  Farm.  It  is 
now  the  saw-mill  for  the  estate.  The  mill-race  is  fed  by 
the  same  stream  that  worked  Cryke  Mill,  three-quarters 

1  Eglwys — church  ;  Keinwir— St.  Oeinwir.     "  Llan"  now  is  used  for 
church  ;  formerly  it  meant  an  enclosure. 


of  a  mile  to  the  north.  The  race  also  fed  the  Abbey  fish- 
ponds, "  stagna  vivaria,"  as  they  are  termed  in  the  Crown 

At  Cwrt-y-defaid  is  a  bridge  over  the  mill-race  stream 
called  Pont-yr-Offeiriad,  the  Priest's  Bridge.  On  the 
opposite  side  of  the  road  from  the  Mill  at  Cvvrt-y-defaid 
is  a  mound  called  Beggar's  Bush — why  so  named  I  could 
never  find  out,  unless  the  beggars  going  from  the  Abbey 
in  old  days  rested  there  to  enjoy  the  food  given  them  at 
the  Abbey  ;  or,  I  think  it  still  more  probable,  the  mendi- 
cant friars,  who  were  not  regarded  with  friendly  eyes  by 
the  Monastic  Orders,  may  have  used  the  knoll  as  a  resting- 
place,  preaching  from  it  and  begging  from  the  passers-by : 
hence  the  name,  "  Beggars'  Bush."  The  high  road  passed 
close  to  the  Abbey  in  those  days  ;  it  was  diverted  several 
years  ago  from  the  Abbey  and  straightened.  The  new 
part  was  made  in  the  days  when,  as  the  late  Mr.  C.  R.  M. 
Talbot  once  told  me,  the  Abbey  was  the  quarry  for  the 
neighbourhood,  for  in  the  walls  are  dressed  Sutton 
stones,  with  here  and  there  carved  bases  of  pillars  and 
capitals  from  the  ruins.  I  have  an  idea  that  Shepes 
Mylle  was  a  woollen  or  fulling  mill  for  making  the 
woollen  garments  for  the  monks  and  the  servants. 

What  a  terrible  age  was  that  which  set  in  in  the 
Georgian  days,  when  the  priceless  Early-English  work  in 
the  choir  of  the  Abbey  church  was  pulled  down,  and  the 
stones  carted  all  over  the  parish,  and  used  in  building 
walls,  barns,  and  pig-styes ;  when  the  arcades  and  pillars 
of  the  nave  of  the  church — the  older  Norman  work — were 
pitted  with  holes  to  retain  plaster,  and  then  plastered 
over,  the  interior  filled  with  unsightly  pews,  and  an 
elaborate  pulpit  erected  against  one  of  the  pillars.  The 
better  altar-frontal  was  reserved  for  the  periods  in  which 
the  family  resided  at  Margam,  and  the  shabbier  one  put 
on  when  they  were  absent.  But  a  great  change  came; 
a  renaissance  had  slowly  but  surely  arrived  :  the  pews 
were  banished,  the  plaster  removed,  showing  the  stone- 
work of  the  severe  Norman  period  once  more ;  open 
seats  replaced  the  box-pews,  and  the  church  was  changed 
and  beautified. 


ardweolocjtcal  Association* 

AUGUST,   1905. 



By  THOMAS  GRAY,  ESQ.,  V.D.,  J.P.,  M.INST.  C.E. 
(Continued  from  p.  29.) 


HIS  is  marked  on  the  Ordnance  Map  as 
the  remains  of  a  Grange.  I  believe  it  is 
the  Grange  known  in  the  Abbey  deeds 
as  Le  Newe  Grange,  and  I  think  so 
from  the  sea-wall  which  is  close  to  it 
being  called  "  Gwal-y-Cwrt  Newydd," 
Wall  of  the  New  Court  or  Grange.  The 
building,  parts  of  which  remain,  stands  on  the  marsh, 
16  ft.  above  Ordnance  datum.  Before  the  sea-walls  were 
made,  the  tide  flowing  up  the  estuary — which  I  will 
refer  to  more  particularly  when  treating  of  the  Grange 
of  Theodoricus,  which  stood  on  the  opposite  side- 
reached  close  up  to  it.  This  Grange,  was  a  large  build- 
ing, and  having  a  road — now  called  "  Heol-y-deiliad," 
the  Tenant's  Road — leading  straight  from  it  to  the 
Abbey,  was  probably  the  Home  Farm,  and  supplied  the 
Abbey  with  its  produce  ;  it  has  all  round  it  the  fertile 

1905  7 


South  Siile  of  Le  Newe  Grange. 


— I — /aurr 



Details  of  Doorway  of  Le  Newe  Grange. 

lands  of  the  great  plain,  between  the  mountains  and  the 
sea-shore,  named  Morfa.  Morfa  means  a  marsh  on,  or 
near,  the  sea-shore. 


The  doorway  in  the  Pine  End  has  a  flattened  arch- 
stone,  with  chamfer,  which  was  continued  down  the  jamb 
shown  in  detailed  sketch.1  In  the  south  side  of  the  part 
or  former  room  (of  which  the  Pine  End  remains),  which 
is  87  ft.  long  by  about  30  ft.  in  width,  are  splayed 
window-openings,  which  had  jambs  of  the  same  section 
as  the  westernmost  window  in  the  Grange  of  Theodoric. 
The  Grange  occupied  three  sides  of  a  square,  and  each 

Old  Pine  End,  Le  Newe  Grange. 

building  is  about  the  same  size.  The  south  wing  had 
its  doorway  on  the  south  side.  Although  no  traces 
remain  above  ground,  I  believe  the  buildings  extended 
northward,  and  exploration  would  undoubtedly  discover 
them.  The  square  holes  in  the  Pine  End  are  puzzling, 
unless  they  were  for  scaffolding.  The  openings  in  the 
south  wall  of  the  south  part  are  merely  narrow  openings, 
splayed  inwards,  like  those  of  a  barn.  The  whole  of 
the  walls  are  spurred  outward  at  the  base.  I  found  two 

1  Now  broken  into  two  parts. 


of  the  window-jambs  of  Sutton  stone,  with  holes  for 
saddle-bars  (see  section  in  details  above).  I  do  not  think 
this  Grange  was  provided  with  a  chapel,  on  account  of 
its  nearness  to  the  Abbey,  to  which  the  conversi  could 
go  ;  and  later,  as  I  show  further  on,  the  chapel  in  the 
woods,  "Cryke  Chapel,"  was  built  for  the  tenants  around 
the  Abbey.  The  Old  Pine  End  is  known  locally  as  Hen 
Biniwn,  Welsh  for  Old  Pine  End. 


This  grange  is  pleasantly  situated  just  below  the 
opening  of  a  dingle  called  Cwm  Geifr — Goats'  Valley.  It 
stands  about  120  ft.  above  sea-level  or  Ordnance  datum. 

Of  this  Grange  we  read  but  little,  except  the  leases 
mentioned  later  on,  until  we  come  to  the  Crown  Sale 
(T.  359 ;  C.  MCCCXLIV),  to  Sir  Eice  Manxell,  Knight, 
in  which  the  abbey  church  and  various  granges  are  sold 
for  £938  6s.  Sd.  In  this  sale,  Groes-wen  appears  as 
"  White  Crosse  Grange."  I  have  no  doubt  wen,  i.e., 
gwen — white — is  used  here  in  the  sense  of  blessed,  as  it 
often  is.  In  the  first  verse  of  the  first  Psalm,  for  in- 
stance, we  have :  "  Gwyn  ei  fyd  y  gwr  ni  rodia  y' 
nghynghor  yr  annuwiolion " —  "  Blessed  is  the  man," 
etc.  Here,  then,  is  an  example  of  gwyn — white — being 
used  for  blessed.  Groes  is  feminine,  therefore  the  feminine 
adjective,  gwen,  wen,  is  used  :  gwyn  is  masculine.  In 
the  "  Breuddwyd  Mair"-— "  Mary's  Dream"— the  Blessed 
Virgin  is  called  Mam  Wen  Fair  —  "Blessed  Mother 

A  little  over  half  a  mile  to  the  east  of  Groes-wen  Farm 
is  a  cross  on  the  top  of  the  mountain,  made  of  embanked 
earth  and  grass-covered.  The  arms  are  of  equal  length, 
and  measure  140  feet  across.  It  is  a  very  striking  object 
when  viewed  from  a  little  higher  ground.  The  Ordnance 
Map  has  it,  "  Cross,  on  site  of  Cairn."  Where  the  sur- 
veyors obtained  the  information  that  a  cairn  existed 
there,  I  know  not.  I  have  recently  had  some  cor- 
respondence with  the  Ordnance  officials,  with  the  result 
that  the  words  "on  site  of  Cairn"  are  not  to  appear  in 
future  maps.  The  cross  is  evidently  a  memorial  of  an 


important  site  or  event,  and  it  has  given  the  name  to 
places  along  the  mountain  side,  on  the  top  of  which  it  is 
situated — Brombil  mountain,  a  spur  of  the  great  Margam 
mountain.  There  is  the  village  of  Y  Groes  (The  Cross)  ; 
the  farm  near  by,  Lan-ton-y-groes  j1  the  farm,  Groes- wen  ; 
Groes-wen-ganol,2  a  cottage  now,  formerly  probably  a 
small  farm;  an  ancient  farm,  now  taken  down,  Groes-wen- 
bellaf,3  and  the  little  group  of  houses  named  Ton-y-groes.* 

No  tradition  exists  as  to  the  cross,  and  therefore  all 
ideas  about  it  must  be  conjectural.5 

Tn  the  lolo  MSS.,  p.  599,  we  read,  "  Maesmawr  is  the 
name  of  the  country  in  which  the  Monastery  of  Margam 
now  is,"  so  that  all  round  Margam  Abbey  the  land  was 
called  Maesmawr,  probably  after  the  forests  were  burnt 
by  the  Welsh,  and  so  a  large  open  space  was  created, 
as  the  name  suggests.  Terrific  battles  were  fought 
between  the  Welsh  and  the  Romans,  "  and  the  bones 
of  the  Romans  slain  by  Caractacus  whitened  the 
land  like  snow "  (lolo  MSS.).  We  also  read  of  a 
prison  built  of  these  bones,  made  into  lime  ;  the 
walls  were  also  covered  with  the  bones  of  those  slain  in 
the  fierce  battles  around.  It  was  of  circular  form  and 
wonderful  magnitude,  and  the  larger  bones  were  on  the 
outer  face  of  the  walls,  and  within  the  circle  many 
prisons  and  other  cells  were  under  the  ground,  places 
for  traitors  to  their  country.  This  was  called  the 
prison  of  Oeth  and  Annoeth  (open  and  concealed),  in 
memorial  of  what  the  Cymry  and  Caradoc  their  King 
had  done  for  their  country  and  race,  in  defeating  the 
Romans  so  easily  when  the  trees  from  the  shores  of  the 
Severn  to  the  banks  of  the  Towey  had  been  burnt  down. 
Could  the  prison  have  been  on  this  spot,  which  long 
afterwards  the  monks  sought  to  consecrate  by  making 
thereon  this  great  cross  ?  On  the  flat  ground  at  the  foot 

1  Lan-ton-y-groes.     The  sward  inclosure  of  the  Cross. 

2  Groes-wen-ganol.     Middle  Groes-wen. 

3  Groes-wen-bellaf.     Further  Groes-wen. 

4  Ton-y-groes.     The  green  sward  of  the  Cross. 

5  Since  writing  the  above,  I  have  heard  there  is  a  tradition  in  the 
neighbourhood,  that  the  Cross  marks,  and  as  it  were  consecrates,  the 
burial-place  of  a  number  of  soldiers. 


of  the  mountain  and  under  the  cross,  one  of  the  fields 
has  the  name  Maesmawr ;  perhaps  the  last  piece  to  be 
enclosed  of  the  greater  Maesmawr. 

As  I  have  mentioned  before,  important  entrenchments, 
British  and  Roman,  are  found  about  two  miles  from  this 
cross,  and  the  grave  of  Bodvoc  lies  but  2J  miles  east  from 
it.  Stirring  scenes  had  doubtless  taken  place  on  these 
mountains,  and  I  believe  the  monks  made  the  cross  to 
mark  the  burial-place  of  a  large  number  of  the  slain. 
For,  "in  the  course  of  a  long  time,  the  bones  became 
decayed  .  .  .  and  they  were  reduced  to  dust.  Then 
they  carried  the  remains  and  put  them  on  the  surface 
of  the  ploughed  land,  and  from  that  time  they  had 
astonishing  crops  of  wheat  and  barley.  .  "l  Even,  as  I 
think,  they  cut  the  cross  on  Bodvoc's  sepulchral  stone, 
knowing  him  to  have  been  a  Christian,  from  the  formula, 
"  hie  jacet " — "  here  lies  (the  body  of) — ". 

An  interesting  document  referring  to  Groeswen  is  a 
lease — dated  20  years  before  the  end — of  the  reversion 
of  the  grange  called  "  Le  White  Crosse"  (note  the  use  of 
the  French  "  le"  for  "  the"),  after  the  decease  of  Catherine 
Nerber,  by  David,  Abbot  of  Margam  and  the  Convent 
therein,  to  Gwladus  verz  (verch,  daughter)  Jeuan  ap 
David  ap  Jankyn,  for  sixty  years  ;  bounded  from  the 
tenement  of  William  ap  Owen  ap  Jeuan  ap  Madoc  to- 
wards "  Row-theris/'  and  from  "  Row-theris"  to  the 
tenement  of  Gwladus  verz  (verch,  daughter)  David  ap 
Yorath,  and  from  that  as  the  "  Gwosse"  water  goes  down 
to  the  high  road  to  the  bridge  there,  and  from  that 
bridge  to  a  stone  set  up  in  the  Salt-marsh  near  the  water 
"  Raneth  ;"  also  a  tenement  called  "  Mays  Melyn,"  and 
"  Cay  Lloyd,"  late  held  by  Jeuan  ap  David  Jacke,  and 
then  by  Hugh  ap  John  ap  Jankyn,  at  a  yearly  rent  of 
twelve  and  a-half  crannocs  of  pure  barley,  (a  cranock  = 
10  bushels),  and  for  the  said  tenement  6sh.  Sd.  The 
said  lessee  to  provide  a  jentaculum  or  dinner  "for  the 
Convent  yearly,  easement  for  carriage  of  glebe  to  the  sea, 
and  a  heriot. 

Dated,  February,  8  Henry  VI II  (A.D.  1517). 

1  lolo  MSS. 


The  tenements  or  cottages  of  William  and  of  Gwladus 
verch  David  ap  Yorath  still  exist,  that  of  the  latter  being 
probably  the  oldest  house  on  Margam  Estate.  The 
"  Row-theris" — Rhiw-ddyrys  (  =  the  steep  lane  difficult 
of  passage),  is  the  same  to-day,  steep  and  narrow,  with 
bushes  and  brambles  crowding  in  on  each  side.  The 
"  Gwosse"  is  there,  flowing  from  Cwm  Geifr,  but  now 
nameless.  Gwosse  probably  means  Cwysig,  a  furrow  or 
narrow  ditch :  this  is  characteristic  of  the  brook,  it 
flows  on  the  marshes  in  a  narrow  ditch.  The  fields, 
"  Mays  Melyn"  (Maes  Melyn  =  yellow  field)  and  Cay  Lloyd 
(Cae  Llwyd  =  gray  field)  are  still  known  by  these  names. 
The  stone  set  up  by  the  water  Raneth  is,  I  believe,  the 
stone  at  the  end  of  the  parapet  wall  of  the  little  bridge 
over  the  "  Raneth"  (Raneth  =  Rheanell,  a  little  stream, 
called  locally  Ranallt). 

The  providing  the  jentaculum  can  be  understood ;  we 
are  not  told  if  the  dinner  was  to  be  eaten  at  Groeswen  or 
at  Margam.  But  it  is  puzzling  to  know  the  meaning  of 
the  carriage  of  glebe  to  the  sea. 

In  a  deed,  dated  9  August,  A.D.  1575,  Leyson  Evans, 
of  Neath,  assigns  to  John  Lawrens  all  his  remainder  of  a 
lease  of  the  Grange  of  Whitt-crosse,  with  Maes  Melyne 
and  Kay  Lloyd,  for  an  unexpired  term,  by  deed  of 
February,  8  Henry  VIII,  of  the  demise  of  the  Abbot  and 
Convent  of  the  late  Monastery  of  Margam. 

In  the  Margam  and  Penrice  MSS.  is  a  lease  by  Sir 
Edward  Mansell,  of  Oxwich,  to  John  Lawrens,  of 
"  Whitcrosse  Grainge,"  in  the  parish  of  Margam,  for 
21  years,  "  formerly  in  the  tenure  of  Gwladis  verz  Jeuan 
ap  David  ap  Jenkin."  Dated  1st  April,  A.D.  1578. 


Grug  —  heather,  and  gallt,  allt  —  steep  :  the  steep, 
heather-clad  mountain.  The  Norman  scribe  has  taken 
great  liberties  with  this  word :  he  disdains  the  last 
syllable,  and  adds  an  "  e"  to  the  first,  to  make  it  short 
and  crisp,  or  frisky,  like  the  summer  breezes  on  the  top 
of  the  steep.  The  pronunciation  of  Grug  approaches 
somewhat  to  "Crik,"  so  he  was  not  far  out  in  the  first 


syllable.  The  farm  is  550  ft.  above  sea-level.  We  find 
this  Grange  mentioned  for  the  first  time  in  the  Crown 
Sale  (T.  362  ;  C.  MCCCLI)  to  Rice  Manxell,  Knight,  for 
£642  9s.  8d.,  among  other  granges,  manors,  mills,  and 
"  landes."  Lands  in  "  Cryke,"  and  the  site  of  the  water- 
mill  called  "Cryke  Mylle,"  attested  by  the  King  at 
Terlying  (Terling),  county  Essex,  5th  August,  35  Hen. 
VIII,  A.D.  1543.  The  King  afterwards  consented  to 
accept  from  Sir  Rice  £300  in  lieu  of  the  £642  9s.  Sd.,  a 
good  bargain  for  Sir  Rice. 

The  buildings  of  Grugwallt  Fawr  are  for  the  most  part 
new,  but  the  remains  of  the  mill  still  exist,  on  the  edge 
of  the  ornamental  water,  near  the  mansion  of  Miss  Talbot. 
The  streams  from  Cwm  Philip,  Cwm  Maelog,  and  Cwm 
Bath,  formerly  flowed  past  and  worked  the  mill,  now 
they  fall  into  the  pond  above  the  mill.  Cwm  Bath  is 
named  so  from  an  ancient  Holy  Well,  which  still  exists, 
but  there  is  no  tradition  regarding  it.  It  is  singular 
that,  although  the  monks  were  at  Margam  nearly  400 
years,  no  tradition  of  any  kind  lives  in  the  parish 
about  them. 

I  used  to  think  the  Wendderi  valley  was  the  prettiest 
I  had  seen,  but  now  I  must  give  the  apple  to  the  sister, 
Cwm  Maelwg.  I  had  not  visited  Cwm  Maelwg  for  twenty 
years,  and  "  out  of  sight,  out  of  mind  ; "  but  on  visiting 
it  again  on  the  4th  of  May  this  year,  I  was  delighted 
with  the  fair  aspect :  all  was  still  in  the  valleys,  save  for 
the  bleat  of  lambs,  the  cuckoo's  note,  and  the  murmur- 
ing of  the  stream  below.  The  trees  were,  for  the 
most  part,  still  in  winter  garb,  but  here  and  there  one 
more  venturesome  than  the  other  was  clothed  in  vivid 
green,  so  bright  against  the  brown  of  the  bracken-covered 
hills — those  rounded  hills  that  seem  so  old  and  stern. 
From  here  the  hills  rise  in  gradual  slope,  and  seem  as  if 
they  wished  to  touch  the  skies;  high  up,  clad  only  in  the 
russet  coloured. bracken,  the  lower  slopes,  sombre  in  the 
gathering  twilight,  with  deep  dark  green  of  fir  trees. 
Here  is  a  well  quaintly  named  to  express  such  thoughts 
as  mine  :  "  Ffynon-y-drych  fannau  "— "  The  Well  of  the 
Fair  Aspect  of  Places."  Up  this  valley  passed  the  Roman 
soldiers  on  their  way  from  the  Via  Julia  Maritima  of 

Called  the  Bath  by  the  People. 


the  plains  to  the  high  lands  ;  and  nearly  eight  centuries 
later  came  the  white-robed  monks,  who  doubtless  often 
viewed  the  same  scene,  and  loved  its  quiet  reposefulness, 
and  left  it  with  regret.  As  so  frequently  occurs  in  these 
valleys,  the  entrance  is  narrow,  so  that  you  seem  shut  in 
all  round.  This  valley  and  Cwm  Philip  are  just  behind 
the  monastery.  I  believe  the  valley  is  named  Cwm 
Maelwg,  after  St.  Maelwg.  Probably  one  of  the  three 
saints  to  whom  Capel  Trisant  was  dedicated,  as  I  have 
already  stated. 

Chapel  of  Cryke,  Grugwallt. — In  the  woods  under 
Grugwallt  are  the  ruins  of  the  little  chapel,  "  Hen 
Eglwys,"  Old  Church,  and  "Capel  Papishod,"  Papist 
Chapel;  "  Papishod,"  a  colloquial  corruption  of  Papistiad, 
are  the  names  given  to  it  by  the  people.  It  is  only 
two  hundred  yards  in  direct  bee-line  from  the  Abbey 
itself,  and  it  is  certainly  much  larger  than  would  be 
needed  for  the  conversi  of  the  three  Grugwallts,  if  three 
farms  existed  there  as  now.  It  is  about  67  ft.  in  length 
by  about  24  ft.  in  width,  and  had  evidently  been  a  hand- 
some building  ;  a  beautiful  piscina  remained  in  situ  until 
quite  recently  ;  now  the  bowl  has  disappeared,  the  two 
supporting  pillars  and  the  niche  alone  remaining.  It 
stands  about  300  ft.  above  sea-level,  or  Ordnance  datum, 
and  from  it  you  look  right  down  on  to  the  Abbey  Church 
and  building. 

I  had  long  puzzled  over  the  raison  d'etre  of  this  chapel 
so  near  the  Abbey  Church  ;  but  I  think  its  existence  is 
due  to  the  fact  of  the  letting  of  the  farms  and  granges  of 
the  estate.  The  conversi  who  worked  the  farms  Grug- 
wallt, Blaen  Maelwg,  Cwm  Maelwg,  Cwm,  Ynis,  Tyn 
Coed,  and  the  Mill  of  Cryke,  were  doubtless  accus- 
tomed, being  in  the  near  neighbourhood  of  the  Abbey,  to 
attend  the  Abbey  Church;  but  when  from  1470  A.D.,  and 
onwards  to  the  end,  they  were  replaced  by  secular 
tenants,  it  was  found  necessary  to  build  a  chapel  for  the 
latter,  and  near  enough  to  be  served  by  a  priest  from  the 
Abbey.  The  chapel  was  placed  high  up  on  the  mountain 
side,  so  as  to  be  convenient  for  the  hill-farmers.  The 
perpendicular  architecture  of  the  chapel,  too,  agrees  with 


this  date,  and  I  think  we  are  safe,  therefore,  in  placing  its 
erection  at  about  A.D.  1470. 

There  would  be  the  case  of  lepers,  too ;  they  would  not 
be  allowed  within  the  Abbey  precints,  but  would  go  to 
the  lepers'  window — if  such  there  was — in  the  chapel  of 
Cryke,  and  there  receive  the  Holy  Communion,  passed  to 
them  through  it.  This,  however,  is  pure  conjecture. 

Why  do  people  call  it  Capel  Papishod  (Capel  Papistiad), 
Papist  Chapel  ?  1  believe  it  is  so  called  from  the  proba- 
bility of  Mass  being  secretly  celebrated  in  the  chapel, 
owing  to  its  secluded  position,  for  those  who  refused  to 
accept  the  new  order  of  services  in  the  reign  of  Queen 
Elizabeth,  when  the  Pope  excommunicated  the  Queen, 
and  called  upon  his  adherents  to  resort  no  longer  to  the 
parish  churches. 

The  orientation  of  the  chapel  is  13  deg.  south  of  true 
east.  That  of  the  Abbey  Church  is  due  true  east ;  Capel 
Trisant  about  due  true  east. 

Here  is  an  opportunity  for  ascertaining  the  dedication 
of  the  chapel,  if  there  is  anything  in  the  idea  of  the 
orientation  being  in  accordance  with  the  rising  of  the  sun 
on  the  Saint's  Day  to  whom  the  dedication  is  made. 
Here  are  two  churches  :  the  Abbey  Church,  dedicated  to 
St.  Mary  being  due  east,  and  the  chapel,  only  200  yards 
away  to  the  north,  being  13  deg.  south  of  east,  and  the 
dedication  unknown.  The  orientation  due  to  St.  David 
is  nearest;  thus  in  Wales,  March  1st,  12  deg.  south  of 
east.  Mr.  Geo.  Watson,  of  Penrith,  in  his  Orientation 
and  Dedications  of  Ancient  Churches  in  England  and 
Wales,  proves,  I  think  conclusively,  that  the  ancient 
churches  are  not  orientated,  according  to  sunrise  on  the 
day  of  the  saint  to  whom  they  were  dedicated.  I  think 
the  foundations  were  laid  out  to  the  rising  sun  on  the 
day  of  the  marking  out.  Mr.  Watson  gives  a  quotation 
from  Aubrey,  who  quotes  from  Captain  Silas  Taylor  :  '«  In 
days  of  yore,  when  a  church  was  to  be  built,  they 
watched  and  prayed  on  the  Vigil  of  the  dedication, 
and  took  that  point  of  the  horizon  when  the  Sun  arose 
for  the  East,  which  makes  the  variation  so  that  few 
stand  true  east,  except  those  built  between  or  at  the  two 



So  we  find  it  styled  in  the  Bull  of  Pope  Urban  III, 
directed  to  the  Abbot  and  Brethren,  in  response  to  their 
request  taking  them  under  the  protection  of  St.  Peter 
and  the  Pope,  and  ordaining  that  the  Monastic  Order, 
in  accordance  with  the  rule  of  St.  Benedict  and  the 
constitutions  of  the  Cistercians,  be  kept  for  ever  invio- 
late ;  and  confirming  to  them  certain  grants,  among 
which  appears  the  "  Grange  of  Theodoric's  Hermitage, 
with  its  appurtenances."  Dated  at  Verona,  18th  Novem- 
ber, A.D.  1186. 

In  the  foundation  charter,  or  the  Inspeximus  of  it, 
rather,  we  find  the  Hermitage  of  Theodoric  mentioned  as 
a  landmark  in  the  description  of  the  boundary,  as  we  have 
seen  in  the  first  chapter  of  these  notes.  Seeing  the 
Abbey  was  founded  in  A.D.  1147  (Annales  de  Margan, 
quoted  before),  the  Hermitage,  as  a  monastic  establish- 
ment, had  evidently  been  superseded  by  the  Cistercian 
Abbey,  for,  in  the  Papal  Bull  thirty-nine  years  after  the 
founding  of  the  Abbey,  we  find  it  styled  a  Grange. 

In  1894  I  was  so  fortunate  as  to  receive  from  Miss 
Talbot  of  Margam,  vol.  i  of  the  Margam  and  Penrice  MSS., 
by  Dr.  de  Gray  Birch,  a  catalogue  and  description  of  the 
monastic  deeds  and  other  documents  which  belonged  to 
the  muniment  chest  of  the  Abbey.  For  the  first  time  I 
knew  of  the  existence  at  one  time  in  the  parish  of  the 
Hermitage  of  Theodoricus,  and  that  its  site  was  near  the 
mouth  of  the  Avan  (or  Afan)  River,  and  just  to  the  east  of 
it.  The  wording  of  the  charter  makes  these  points  clear  : 
"  That  is  to  say,  all  the  lands  which  extend  between 
Kenfig,  and  the  further  bank  of  the  water  of  the  further 
Afan,  which  is  to  the  west  of  the  Hermitage  of  Theo- 
doricus as  the  water  aforesaid  descends  from  the  moun- 
tains" This  describes  the  extent  of  the  lands  along  the 
lowlands  on  the  sea  shore.  "All  this  land  I  grant  to  the 
monks  as  it  goes  through  the  mountains,  namely,  from  the 
source  of  Kenefeg  Water  between  the  source  of  Rudelf 

1  See  "  The  Hermitage  of  Theodoric  and  Site  of  Pendar"  for  plan 
of  building,  tiles,  piacina,  etc.,  Arch.  Camb.,  April,  1903. 


(Ffrwdwyllt),  and  Gelli-fret  (Gelli-vrith)1  on  to  Red- 
Kewelthi  (Rhyd  Gyfylchu),  that  is  the  ford  of  Kewelthi, 
into  Aven"  (The  italics  are  mine).  The  latter  part 
describes  the  boundaries  among  the  hills  and  at  the 
rivers'  sources. 

Several  years  ago  I  found  tile-stones  among  the  sand- 
dunes  near  the  old  mouth  of  the  Afan,  and  later  some 
green  glazed  earthenware  tiles,  some  flat  and  some  ridge 
or  crest  tiles.  In  1898  I  had  the  sand  cleared  off  from  a 
pile  of  stones,  and  found  a  building  85  ft.  in  length.  I 
was  unable  to  get  to  the  floor,  by  reason  of  water  pre- 
venting further  progress  unless  a  pump  was  used.  I  also, 
two  years  ago  found,  among  the  ruins  at  the  east  end, 
part  of  a  piscina  or  holy- water  stoup,  clearly  showing  the 
existence  of  a  chapel  at  the  Grange. 

The  upper  windows,  three  in  number,  were  dormer 
windows  ;  inside  of  each  there  was  a  recess,  very  like  the 
seats  to  be  seen  in  old  castles ;  but  these,  of  course,  were 
too  narrow  for  that.  The  stone-work  of  the  centre  one 
is  superior  to  that  of  the  other  two,  and  perhaps  it  shows 
this  to  have  been  the  guest-chamber. 

The  quoins,  jambs  of  the  windows,  and  the  mullion  of 
the  easternmost  window  are  of  green  Collwn  or  Quarella 
(Bridgend)  stone. 

The  iron  stanchions  and  saddle-bars  in  the  westernmost 
window,  and  in  the  little  centre  window,  are  almost 
perfect,  as  also  are  the  shutter-hooks  still  remaining 
inside  the  easternmost  window.  The  small  window  west 
of  the  doorway  is  10  in.  wide  by  7  in.  high;  it  has  three 
iron  stanchions  and  one  saddle-bar. 

The  stone  steps  leading  from  the  basement  are  very 
narrow,  7  in.  tread  and  7  in.  rise ;  through  the  top  step 
runs  a  square  hole  ;  it  probably  was  used  for  holding  the 
upper  part  of  a  hand-rail,  which  would  be  necessary  with 
such  narrow  steps. 

I  found  traces  of  walls  quite  100  yards  away  from  the 

1  Gelli-vrith  =  "  variegated  grove,"  i.e.,  varying  tints  of  the  trees. 
One  of  the  Margam  deeds  is  endorsed,  17th  seventeenth-century  hand- 
writing :  "  Pant-y-Vlayddast  id  est  Gethlifreth,"  "  the  hollow  of  the 
female  wolf,  that  is  Gethli-freth." 


main   building,    showing    that    the    outbuildings    were 

The  north  walls  of  the  building  are  covered  by  a  high 
bank  of  sand,  and  I  have  made  no  attempt  to  uncover 
them  as  yet. 

The  line  of  the  front  of  the  building  is  12  deg.  north  of 
east,  and  would  be  the  orientation  of  the  chapel  at  the 
east  end. 

The  green-glazed  ridge  tiles  are  similar  to  those  found 
at  Llantwit  Major  Church  (see  in  the  April  number,  1900, 
of  the  Archceologia  Cambrensis,  the  Paper  by  Mr.  G.  E. 
Halliday).  Similar  tiles  were  found  in  Nicholaston 
Church,  Gower  (Davies'  West  Gower,  vol.  iv,  plate,  oppo- 
site p.  496),  and  at  Cardiff  Castle. 

I  came  to  the  conclusion  that  these  ruins,  situated  as 
they  are  in  the  position  stated  in  the  Charters,  and  for 
other  reasons  which  I  will  give  further  on,  are  those  of 
the  Grange  of  the  Hermitage  of  Theodoric,  buried  and 
hidden  from  human  eyes  for  well-nigh  six  hundred  years. 

The  situation  of  the  Hermitage  was  a  strange  one,  and 
lonely.  It  stood  on  almost  the  extreme  point  of  a  long, 
narrow  strip  of  land,  having  the  Severn  Sea  on  the  west 
side  and  an  estuary  on  the  east,  up  which  the  tide  raced  for 
three  miles,  measuring  from  the  opening  on  the  shore 
between  the  sand-hills.  Lonely  as  the  spot  was,  it  seems 
to  have  been  such  as  appealed  to  the  hermit's  ideal  : 
St.  Cadoc  searched  for  solitary  places  suitable  for  hermit- 
ages, and  walked  on  one  occasion  about  the  banks  of  the 
River  Neath.1  Coch  the  hermit  owned  land  in  the 
Marsh  of  Afan,  near  the  shore.2  Another  hermit,  Ranulf, 
held  the  fishery  of  Sub-Pul-Canan  on  the  shore  near 
Briton  Ferry.3  Apparently  the  hermits  chose  their 
dwelling-places  near  the  sea-shore. 

Having  seen  the  plan  of  the  Grange,  Mr.  J.  T.  Mickle- 
thwaite,  the  eminent  architect  and  antiquary,  wrote  me : 
"  The  building  you  have  unearthed  seems  to  be  an 
interesting  one,  and,  so  far  as  I  can  judge  from  the 

1  Rees,  Cambro -British  Saints. 

2  Maryam  MSS. 

8  See  Dr.  Birch,  Neath  Abbey,  p.  42.  Charter  of  Henry  de  New- 


drawing,  it  may  be  of  the  first  half  of  the  fourteenth 
century.  It  is  not  a  hermitage  in  the  usual  sense  of  the 
word  ;  but  it  seems  to  have  been  a  dwelling-house  of 
some  sort,  and  may  have  belonged  to  a  Grange,  or  a  cell 
of  the  smaller  sort."  In  writing  Mr.  Micklethwaite,  I 
should  have  explained  that  the  ruins  were  those  of  the 
Grange  and  not  the  Hermitage. 

He  also  wrote  me,  in  regard  to  the  holy-water  stoup  : 
"The  fragment  you  have  found  may  belong  either  to  a 
holy-water  stoup  or  to  a  piscina.  Very  likely  the  circle 
of  the  bowl  was  completed  under  a  niche  in  the  wall. 
There  is  no  detail  to  fix  the  date  exactly,  but  I  think  it 
riot  earlier  than  the  thirteenth  century,  and  it  may  well 
be  the  fourteenth."  I  am  inclined  to  fix  the  date  of  the 
Grange  at  near  A.D.  1227,  for  the  reason  that  in  that 
year,  according  to  the  Annales  de  Margan,  the  Welsh 
cleared  the  Grange  of  Theodore,  burnt  several  horses  and 
great  flocks  of  sheep,  and  I  think  the  dwelling-house  may 
have  been — and  probably  was — destroyed,  to  be  rebuilt, 
then  or  later,  as  we  see  it  now.  The  south-west  window- 
jambs  are  of  about  this  date  ;  see  section  of  window-jamb 
in  Le  Newe  Grange,  which  is  similar. 

Several  charters,  in  describing  the  limits  of  the  Abbey 
lands,  mention  the  Hermitage  as  a  landmark.  The  latest 
is  one  by  Richard,  Earl  of  Gloucester,  between  A.D.  1246 
and  A.D.  1249.  From  this  date  we  find  it  no  more 
mentioned  ;  but  we  find  in  a  detailed  account  of  the 
Abbey  Granges  and  other  documents,  the  reason  probably 
for  this  disappearance  of  the  well-known  landmark.  This 
detailed  account  was  drawn  up  in  A.D.  1326,  by  the  Abbot 
of  Margam  for  the  Abbot  of  Clairvaux,  in  obedience  to  the 
mandates  of  the  Apostolic  See,  and  of  Clairvaux.  It  is 
followed  by  complaints  of  losses  caused  by  mortality, 
wars,  nearness  to  the  high  road ;  and  that  no  small  part 
of  the  land  adjacent  to  the  shore  is  subject  to  innunda- 
tion  of  sand.  ^ 

A  Bull  of  Pope  Urban  VI,  addressed  to  the  Bishop  of 
Llandaff,  sanctions  the  appropriation  of  the  patronage  of 
the  Church  of  Aven  (Aberavan)  by  the  Abbey,  because, 
among  other  things,  the  Abbey  lands  and  possessions 
adjacent  to  the  sea-shore  had  become  unfruitful,  owing 


to  inroads  of  the  sea  (doubtless  sand  is  meant).     Dated 
17th  July,  A.D.  1383. 

For  the  same  reason,  the  Abbey  was  allowed  to 
appropriate  the  church  of  Penllyn. 

I  conclude  from  the  evidence  that  the  Grange  was 
overwhelmed  by  sand,  and  hidden  effectually,  from  about 
A.D.  1300,  to  A.D.  1898,  a  period  of  close  upon  six  hundred 
years.  I  think  the  building  was  quickly  covered  up  by 
the  sand.  Dividing  two  of  the  upper-storey  rooms,  I 
found  a  clay  partition  3  ins.  thick,  faced  on  each  side 
with  mortar.  This  was  still  standing,  kept  up  by  the 
sand,  although  the  floor  had  disappeared.  Had  the 
building  remained  exposed  to  rain  and  wind,  this  partition 
would  soon  have  collapsed.  I  can  only  account  for  it 
remaining  in  position  by  the  sand  filling  up  the  building 
very  quickly.  The  iron-work,  too,  has  apparently  been 
preserved  by  being  covered  and  protected  from  the  saline 
winds  from  the  sea,  so  destructive  to  ironwork, 

A  tradition  is  mentioned  in  Davies'  West  Gower,  as 
existing  in  Gower,  which  somewhat  confirms  the  date  I 
have  given  to  the  be-sanding  of  the  Grange.  In  a  grant, 
dated  June,  A.D.  1317,  Sir  William  de  Breos,  Lord  of 
the  Seigniory  of  Gower,  gives  liberty  to  his  huntsman 
William,  and  Joan,  his  wife,  to  take  hares,  rabbits,  and 
foxes,  in  the  sand-burrows  of  Penard.  Mr.  Davies 
remarks  on  this :  *'  Here,  then,  we  have  indisputable 
evidence  that,  in  A.D.  1317,  Penard  burrows  existed  as  a 
fact.  The  tradition  is,  that  it  was  formed  by  a  terrible 
storm,  all  in  one  night,  and  .  .  .  the  conclusion  is  almost 
irresistible  that  both  these  burrows  (Penard  and  Penmaen) 
were  formed  at  the  same  time,  and  the  church  and  village 
of  Stedworlango  were  overwhelmed  when  the  sandstorm 
occurred,  and  consequently  the  be-sanding  of  these  two 
churches  (Penard  and  Penmaen)  must  have  taken  place 
previous  to  A.D.  1317." 

The  Grange  and  Penard  are  only  separated  by  thirteen 
miles,  and  it  seems  probable  that  the  same  storm  covered 
up  the  Grange  of  the  Hermitage. 

In  the  Bull  of  Pope  Urban  VII,  before  referred  to, 
one  of  the  clauses  refers  to  the  heavy  debts  of  the  Abbey, 
which  made  it  impossible  for  it  to  repair  its  buildings, 


now  dilapidated  by  the  "  horrida  ventorum  intemperies" — 
dreadful  unseasonableness  of  gales,  which  had  thrown 
down  or  rendered  insecure  the  greater  part  of  them. 

I  believe  (see  the  "  Hermitage  of  Theodoric  and  the 
Site  of  Pendar,"  Archceologia  Cambrensis,  April,  1903)  the 
hermitage  was  founded  by  Theodoricus,  the  nephew  of 
Sir  Richard  de  Granavilla  and  of  Sir  Robert  Fitz-hamon. 
Seeing  the  hermitage  was  in  Margam,  which  became  the 
dower  land  of  Mabel,  or  Mabila,  the  daughter  of  Sir 
Robert,  and  Theodoric's  cousin,  it  seems  to  me  likely 
that  the  existence  there  of  the  hermitage,  a  beginning 
of  monastic  life,  induced  the  giving  of  Margam  to  the 
monks  of  Clairvaux,  for  the  establishment  of  a  larger 
monastic  establishment,  similar  to  that  of  Neath  Abbey, 
founded  and  endowed  by  Theodoric's  uncle,  Sir  Richard. 
It  is  said  by  some  that  Mabila  was  the  only  daughter  of 
Sir  Robert  Fitz-hamon ;  by  others  that  he  had  four 
daughters.  I  think  the  latter  is  the  more  probable,  as 
we  are  told  that  two  embraced  the  religious  life — became 
nuns.  Probably  the  other  died,  and  so  practically  Mabila 
was  the  only  daughter,  being  "  in  the  world,"  and  thus 
she  became  his  heiress.  Mabel  is  called  Mabli  in  lolo 
P.  S.,  p.  631. 

At  high  tide,  the  Grange  of  Theodoric  and  Le  Newe 
Grange  were  separated  by  a  width  of  tidal  water  of  half 
a  mile,  and  truly  picturesque  the  scene  must  have  been 
on  a  calm  summer's  day,  with  the  background  of  Margam 
mountain  rising  abruptly  from  the  plain  several  hundred 
feet,  and  clad  with  oaks  right  up  to  the  summit,  with 
this  stretch  of  water  on  the  plain.  We  have  a  picture  of 
this  in  the  Beaufort  Progress,  A.D.  1684  :  "  Margham  is 
a  noble  seat  .  .  .  Its  scituation  is  among  excellent 
springs  ...  at  the  foot  of  prodigious  high  hilles  of 
woods,  shelter  for  ye  Deere,  about  a  mile  distant  from  an 
arm  of  the  Sea,  parting  this  shore  and  the  County  of 
Cornwall,  below  which,  and  washed  almost  round  with 
salt  water,  is  a  Marsh  whereunto  the  Deer  (ye  tide  being 
low)  resort  much  by  swimming,  and  thrive  to  an  extra- 
ordinary weight  and  fatness  as  I  never  saw  the  like  ..." 

[  think  the  writer  means  the  tide  being  high  instead 
of  low.     This  was  the  marsh  on  which  the  Grange  stood. 


In  winter,  the  Hermitage  itself,  before  any  of  the 
Granges  were  built,  and  before  the  Abbey  rose  and  brought 
its  monks,  must  have  been  lonely  in  the  extreme,  and  the 
scene  most  weird  and  desolate.  The  roaring  tide  on  one 
side,  and  the  tidal  water  of  the  estuary  close  up  on  the 
other,  the  circling,  wheeling  gulls  and  other  sea-birds  with 
their  raucous  cries,  the  spindrift  scudding  past  the  dwell- 
ing, the  strange,  continuous  roar  or  din  which  we  hear  at 
times,  as  the  breakers  fall  and  dash  upon  the  hard,  flat 
sands  in  rapid  succession  :  these  sounds  echoed  back  from 
the  mountains,  and  all  together  mingled,  seem  to  fill  the 
bowl  of  heaven  with  a  curious  roar,  which  creates  a  feel- 
ing akin  to  awe,  and  must  in  those  lonely  days  have 
added  to  the  sense  of  desolation. 

I  believe,  although  it  is  difficult  to  ascertain  the  rule 
of  life  of  the  hermits,  that  they  lived  together  as  con- 
ventual bodies,  for  we  have  the  names  of  some,  contem- 
poraneous, and  probably  living  together  at  this  hermitage 
— Theodoric,  Meiler,  and  Coch. 

The  late  Mr.  J.  Rowland  Phillips,  in  his  concise  history 
of  Glamorgan,  writes,  "that  at  Kenfig,  for  instance,  a  great 
tract  of  land  had  been  swept  away  and  rendered  waste 
by  repeated  sand-storms  of  unusual  magnitude.  The 
first  of  which  there  is  any  account  was  a  great  storm  in 
the  time  of  Richard  II,  when  an  unprecedented  high  tide, 
swollen  and  infuriated  by  a  great  wind,  devastated  the 
shore,  carrying  away  lands  and  houses,  and  leaving  in 
their  places  nothing  but  sand-hills.  The  town  suffered 
much,  houses  were  overwhelmed,  the  site  of  the  church 
of  Towin  disappeared."  Mr.  Phillips  must  refer  to  the 
letter  written  by  King  Richard  II,  Clark  C.C.C.,  from  the 
Patent  Rolls  of  the  8th  year  of  his  reign,  28th  October, 
A.D.  1384,  in  which  he  sets  forth  that  the  Abbot  of 
Margam  had  delivered  a  petition  showing  how  Edward 
le  Despenser,  late  Lord  of  Glamorgan  arid  Morgan,  out  of 
consideration  for  the  losses  which  the  sand-storms  had 
inflicted  on  the  Abbey,  had  bestowed  on  it  the  advowson 
of  Aberavon  Church,  without  first  obtaining  the  Royal 
license.  Subsequently,  the  Abbey  obtained  Papal  per- 
mission to  appropriate,  but  the  Crown,  by  a  suit  in  the 
Court  of  Common  Pleas,  recovered  the  advowson  under 

1905  8 


the  provisions  of  the  Statute  of  Mortmain  ;  yet  the  King, 
hereby  desiring  to  favour  the  monks,  in  consideration  of 
their  expenses  incurred  in  obtaining  the  licence  of  appro- 
priation, grants  the  advowson,  at  the  special  request  of 
Thomas,  Bishop  of  Llandaff,  Royal  Confessor,  for  the  sake 
of  the  King  himself  and  heirs,  and  of  the  realm  of 
England,  and  of  his  soul  after  death,  and  the  souls  of  his 
progenitors  and  heirs,  and  of  all  faithful  deceased  persons. 

I  have  little  doubt,  for  the  reason  I  have  given  before, 
that  the  sand-storm  occurred  about  A.D.  1300.  Tradition 
has  it  that  the  be-sanding  of  Kenfig  took  place  in  the 
reign  of  Queen  Elizabeth;  but  Leland,  in  A.D.  1540, 
already  found  town  and  castle  (Fitz-hamon's)  "  shoked 
with  sand."  Besides  the  damage  done  by  the  sands  of 
the  Severn  Sea,  Owen  Glyndwr,  A.D.  1402,  caused  the 
Abbey  great  loss.  The  claims  of  Owen  were  opposed  by 
the  Cistercians,  and  his  only  friends  among  the  Abbeys 
were  the  Franciscans.  Owen,  therefore,  damaged  the 
property  and  buildings  of  the  chief  ecclesiastical  founda- 
tions in  his  war  in  Glamorgan. 

If  the  sand  did  much  damage  to  lands  near  the  sea- 
shore it  also  did  some  good  to  the  Abbey,  for  the  dunes 
became  thickly  populated  by  rabbits,  as  they  are  to  this 
day  ;  and  we  find  a  grant  (f.  220  ;  C.  MCLXVII)  by  Hugh 
le  Despenser,  Lord  of  Glamorgan  and  Morgan,  to  Mar- 
gam,  of  free  warren  in  their  rabbit  warren  of  Bervves, 
between  the  river  of  Avene  and  Kenefeg  on  the  west  side 
as  far  as  the  sea,  and  on  the  east  side  just  as  the  main 
road  extends  from  Aberavon  to  Kenfig.  16  Feb.,  1344, 
A.D.,  endorsed  :  "  The  grant  of  a  warren  or  connigry  to 
be  betwixt  Avan  and  Kenfeg  upon  the  borroes." 

The  monks  evidently  thought  rabbit  pie  an  agreeable 
change  after  so  much  venison  pasty. 

The  Abbey  had  the  right  of  wreck  along  the  shore,  but 
this  was  at  times  disputed.  This  right  still  belongs 
to  the  owner  of  Margam  estate.  The  right  had  been 
given  and  confirmed  by  the  Earl  of  Gloucester,  soon  after 
the  foundation  of  the  Abbey.  A  record  exists  of  the 
proceedings  (T.  196  ;  C.  MLXXXV)  in  the  Glamorgan 
County  Court,  in  which  a  case  was  tried  as  to  this  right. 

The  Abbot  complained  that  the  Earl  of  Gloucester's 


officers  had  seized  a  wreck  between  Avene  and  Kenefeg. 
The  jury  found  for  the  Abbot  :  4th  June,  A.D.,  1313. 
The  deed  is  endorsed  :  "  An  inquisicion  wherin  hit  is 
found  that  thobbot  of  Margan  oweght  to  haue  wrekkes 
betwyxt  Avon  and  Kenefeg."  Another  case  arose  in 
A.D.  1333,  and  was  tried  in  the  Glamorgan  County  Court 
(jT.210  ;  C.  MCXLII),  before  Johnde  Mounteney,  Sheriff  of 
Glamorgan,  at  Cardiff,  on  the  18th  January,  A.D.  1333. 
John  Louel,  Steward  of  Margam  Abbey,  was  charged 
with  appropriating  a  boat  valued  at  40s.,  three  bales  of 
wool,  60s.,  a  small  coffer,  and  a  cask  worth  8d.  The 
property  was  claimed  by  Lord  William  La  Zouche,  Lord 
of  Glamorgan  and  Morgannok.  The  Steward  pleaded 
that  the  Abbot  and  his  predecessors  had  immemorial 
right  of  wreck  there,  a  tempore  quo  non  extol  memoria. 
The  verdict  was  given  in  favour  of  the  Abbot. 

I  have  already  mentioned  the  detailed  account  (T.  211  ; 
C.  MCXLIII),  drawn  up  by  the  Abbot,  of  the  Grange's  lands 
and  property  of  the  Abbey,  in  obedience  to  an  Apostolic 
mandate  in  A.D.  1326.  In  it  we  find,  among  other 
matters,  the  number  of  monks  and  conversi  inhabiting  the 
Abbey,  and,  I  suppose,  in  the  case  of  the  latter,  the 
Granges.  The  Abbot  states  he  is  required  to  support 
thirty-eight  monks  and  forty  conversi :  so  with  servants 
arid  guests  the  establishment  must  have  been  an  extensive 
and  costly  one.  He  complains  that  the  Abbey,  being  on 
the  high  road,  is  continually  overrun  with  rich  and  poor 
strangers,  as  there  are  no  other  places  of  refuge  near. 

This  interesting  document  was  sealed  in  the  presence 
of  twelve  seniors  of  the  house,  before  the  Abbot  of  Neeth 
(Neath)  and  Bernard,  monk  of  Clairvaux,  Bachelor  of 


"The  Grange  of  the  shepherd's  inclosure."  It  is  strange 
that  the  name  of  this  extensive  farm  had  completely 
disappeared.  I  think  the  reason  for  this  is,  that  we  find 
from  the  Margam  MSS.  the  farm  was  divided  up  and  the 
fields  added  to  other  farms.  The  homestead,  too,  if  I  am 
right  in  locating  its  site,  was  turned  into  cottages  now 
known  as  Ton-y-Groes.  I  find  from  old  people  that  these 



cottages  formed  at  one  time  a  farm  homestead.  Judging 
therefore  from  this,  and  the  fact  of  the  fields  belonging  to 
it  being  in  the  neighbourhood  of  the  cottages,  I  feel  I  am 
justified  in  locating  its  site  at  Ton-y-Groes. 

Several  deeds  leasing  lands,  part  of  Lanvegely,  appear. 

The  earliest  date  I  find  Llanbugeilydd  mentioned  is 
A.D.  1520,  and  the  latest  in  the  counterpart  of  a  lease 
by  the  Rt.  Hon.  Thomas,  Lord  Hansel,  Baron  of  Margam, 
P.O.,  to  James  ap  John'of  Avan,  of  two  closes  of  land 

Part  of  Llanbugeilydd  Grange. 

called  Maes-y-Cwrt — field  of  the  Court  or  Grange — 
six  acres,  at  Lanvegely,  Lordship  of  Hafod-y-Porth. 
29  Sept.,  A.D.  1712. 

In  one  document  the  house  is  termed  a  mansion,  and 
in  another  the  Chapel  of  Lanvigelethe  is  mentioned  :  no 
remains  of  the  chapel  exist. 

In  Maes-y-Cwrt  to-day,  on  the  land  of  the  Grange 
of  the  shepherd's  inclosure,  near  the  site  of  an  old  barn, 
which  I  used  when  a  boy  to  pass  at  night  in  fear  and 
trembling  —  for  tramps  resorted  there  —  stands  "The 
Shepherd's  Inclosure,"  a  magnificent  Early  English  church, 


dedicated  to  St.  Theodore,  built  by  Miss  Talbot  in  A.D. 
1897 ;  and  so  although  the  name  Llanbugeilydd  had 
been  lost,  "  The  Shepherds'  Inclosure"  is  there. 

The  Lords  of  Alan,  the  descendants  of  lestyn  ap 
Gwrgan,  were,  as  we  have  seen,  benefactors  of  Margam 
Abbey.  They  lived  at  Aberavan  Castle,  and  so  were 
near  neighbours  of  the  Lord  Abbot.  For  these  reasons, 
I  give  some  account  of  them  in  these  notes. 

lestyn  ap  Gwrgan  was  descended  from  Tewdrig,  King 
of  Glamorgan.  He  lost  his  lands  when  Fitzhamon 
conquered  Glamorgan,  but  these  were  in  part  restored  to 
his  son  Caradoc.  The  Lords  of  Afan  were  purely  Welsh, 
but  they  adopted  Norman  customs,  and  used  large  seals 
bearing  their  effigies  in  armour  on  horseback.  They  bore 
the  de  Clare  arms  :  or.,  three  chevrons  gules ;  crest,  the 
"Agnus  Dei"-— the  Lamb  and  Flag. 


lestyn  ap  Gwrgan. 


Caradoc  (eldest  of  four  sons)=j=Gwladus,  sister  of  Prince  Rhys. 

I  I    . 

Morgan  ap  Caradoc.     Meredith.  =  Lady  Nest. 

r  ~r  ~\~       ~\ 

Leisan.         Morgan  Gam.      Owen,  or  Owein.      Wenllian.      Cadwallan. 

Sir  Leisan  ap  Morgan     Morgan  Fyclian.  =Matildis,  daughter  of  Sir  Walter  de  Sullie. 
Gam.  | 

Sir  Leisan  Dauene.  =j=Lady  Margaret. 

Lord  Dauene  of  Sir  John  Dauene,  Knt.          Thomas. 

Kiluei  (Kilvey)  and  Sully. 

Sir  Thomas  d'Auene. 

In  A.D.  1151,  Aberavan  Castle  was  taken  and  destroyed 
by  Madoc  ap  Meredydd,  Prince  of  Powys.  Morgan  ap 
Caradoc  thereupon  fled,  and  placed  himself  under  the 
protection  of  William,  Earl  of  Gloucester.  Henceforth, 
though  Caradoc's  descendants  were  more  secure,  they  had 
less  independence — they  became  subject  to  the  Lordship 
of  Glamorgan. 

These  lords  gave  to   the  Abbey  lauds   in   the   Afan 


March,  in  Resolven,  in  Newcastle  (Bridgend),  the  common 
of  pastures  between  the  rivers  Neath  and  Afan,  at  Llan- 
feithun,  Baiden,  and  Cefn  Machen,  at  the  confluence  of 
the  Ogmore  and  Gurw  rivers. 

Wenllian,  too,  the  daughter  of  Morgan  ap  Caradoc, 
gave  lands  to  the  Abbey. 

One  of  them  gave  himself,  with  his  lands,  and  was 
received  into  full  fraternity  of  Margam  Abbey  ;  that  is, 
he  became  a  monk.  He  was  Meredydd,  son  of  Caradoc. 

Although  the  Lords  of  Afan  gave  lands  to  the  Abbey, 
there  were  frequent  dissensions  between  them  and  the 
Abbots.  Morgan  Gam — Morgan  the  Crooked — gave  lands 
to  the  Abbey,  but  he  frequently  did  injury  to  its  pos- 
sessions. At  times  he  made  his  peace  with  the  monks, 
but  soon  forgot  his  promises. 

Leisan,  too,  had  quarrels  with  the  Abbot,  but  he  was 
not  so  violent  as  Morgan.  In  one  deed  he  confirms  his 
father's  gifts,  and  restores  to  the  monks  the  land  at 
Newcastle,  which  he  had  unjustly  ploughed  and  sown. 
In  another  he  undertakes  not  to  vex  the  monks  by 
demanding  his  rents  beforehand,  and  in  another  he 
undertakes  not  to  molest  the  monks  in  the  Avene  waters  : 
nor  drive  away  their  sheep,  nor  trouble  them  in  their 
cultivated  lands  in  the  fee  of  Newcastle,  notwithstanding 
he  may  be  making  war  with  others  for  the  said  New- 

A  most  interesting  document  exists  among  the  Margam 
and  Pen  rice  MSS.  (C.  DCCXXXIII),  which  gives  us  Leisan's 
deed  of  confirmation  of  his  father's  and  others'  grants  to 
Margam,  and  of  his  determination  to  end  all  quarrels 
with  the  Abbot  and  Convent  of  Margam. 

At  this  peace-making  there  was,  doubtless,  a  picturesque 
scene  in  the  Abbey  church.  Leisan,  come  of  a  princely 
line,  was  the  chief  figure  in  the  ceremony,  and  one  can 
picture  the  scene  as  he  stood  at  the  high  altar  swearing 
that  in  future  there  shall  be  no  more  dissentions  between 
the  monks  and  himself ;  touching  with  his  hand  the  most 
Holy  Body  of  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ,  the  most  precious 
wood  of  the  True  Cross,  and  the  reliques  of  the  holy 
Apostles,  holy  martyrs,  holy  confessors,  and  holy 

I  give  Leisan's  charter,  translated  from  the  Latin  : — 

NOTES  ON  THE  GRANGES  OF  MAfcGAM  ABBEY.          107 

Know  all  present  and  to  come,  that  I,  Leisan,  son  of  Morgan, 
have  quitted  all  claims,  quarrels,  and  exactions  which  I  hitherto 
had  against  the  house  of  Margan,  concerning  all  lands  and  tene- 
ments which  the  monks  of  that  house  hold  of  me  and  my  men  in 
my  fee.     Moreover,  also,  by  this  my  present  charter,  I  have  con- 
firmed to  them  all  the  concessions  and  agreements,  and  all  the 
charters,  which  Morgan  son  of  Caradoc  and  Audoenus,  my  brother, 
and  our  men,  made  to  the  same  monks,  and  all  the  tenements 
which  they  gave  or  sold  to  them,  as  well  in  Pultimor  (Pwll  du 
mawr)  and  the  marsh  of  Avene,  as  in  the  territory  of  Newcastle, 
and  in  all  other  places  under  the  mountains  and  upon  the  moun- 
tains, that  they  may  have  and  hold  all  these  freely  and  quietly  for 
ever,  as  any  alms  can  be  well  and  freely  held,  as  the  charters  of 
my  father  and  brother  and  our  men  testify.     And  especially  the 
land  of  Walter   Lageles,  which  my  father  gave  to  the  house  of 
Margan  in  alms.     And  I,  Leisan,  sane  and  prudent,  have  sworn 
with  my  own  hand  upon  the  Sanctnaria  of  the  monastery,  that  is 
to  say,  upon  the  most  sacred  body  of  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ,  and 
upon  the  most  precious  wood  of  the  True  Cross,  and. upon  the 
relics  of  the  holy  Apostles,  and  holy  martyrs,  and  holy  confessors, 
and  holy  virgins,  the  relics  of  all  which  were  contained  in  one 
Cross ;  upon  all  these,  placed  upon  the  great  altar,  as  they  were 
expressly  and  manifestly  named  to  me,  I  have  sworn,  that  for  the 
future  I  will  not  dispossess  them  of  any  tenement  of  theirs.  .  .  . 
nor  will  I  hinder  ...  to  plough,  sow,  hoe,  mow  their  lands,  or  to 
carry,  collect,  and  take  away,  or  to  reap  and  carry  their  meadows, 
or  to  do  their  own  will  concerning  all  their  own  affairs ;  nor  will  I 
bring  upon  them,  or  cause  or  permit  to  be  brought  upon  them,  any 
damage  concerning  their  stud  of  horses,  or  concerning  all  their 
other  animals  which  they  have  or  shall  have,  in  all  their  pastures 
which  they  have  in  my  fee,  on  account  of  any  anger  which  I 
might  have  had,  or  perchance  shall  have  against  them.     And  if 
they  shall  catch  me  a  delinquent  in  anything,  or  if  they  do  not  do 
me  that  which  by  law  they  ought  to  do,  I  will  show  it  to  the 
bailiffs,  and  I  will  undertake  to  make  amends  therefor   by  the 
judgment  of  the  court.     And  I  have  sworn  that  I  will  observe  all 
these  things  to  the  monks  aforesaid,  during  the  whole  of  my  life. 
These  being  witnesses :  Walter  de  Sullie,  then  Sheriff  of  Glamor- 
gan,  Richard  Flaman,  Peter  le  Butiller,  William  de  Cantilupe, 
Walter  Luvel,  Stephen,  clerk  of  Ken  fig,  Thomas  Albas  de  Keuefeg, 
Alaithur,  Rees  Goch,  Griffin  son  of  Knaithur,  and  many  others. 
Endorsed — "  General  confirmation  of  Leisan." 

Leisan,  after  he  had  sworn  and  recited  the  deed,  knelt 
in  front  of  the  Abbot,  and  received  his  blessing.1 

1  One  of  Leisan's  seals  shows  the  Abbot  of  Margam  on  the  Abbey 
throne  blessing  Leisan  with  uplifted  hand,  Leisan  kneeling.  The 
Abbot  of  Margaiu  was  uiitrecl,  and  sat  in  the  House  of  Lords. 


Leisan's  seal  to  this  document  is  still  appended. — Date, 
circa  A.D.  1213. 


No  doubt  the  day  was  afterwards  given  up  to  re- 
joicings, for  it  was  an  important  event,  and  the  Abbey 
would  extend  its  hospitality  to  all  comers. 

It  is  long  since  that  day,  for  well-nigh  seven  hundred 
summers  have  passed  in  their  flight — gone  in  silence,  as 
have  all  who  rejoiced  then.  It  is  a  long  time,  yet  we 
to-day  can  pass  through  the  same  door  of  the  old  church 
which  Leisan  passed  through,  we  can  see  the  same  pillars 
he  looked  on,  as  he  passed  up  the  church  nave.  We  can 
stand  where  he  stood,  when  he  touched  the  most  precious 
wood  of  the  True  Cross  and  the  reliques  of  the  Apostles, 
martyrs,  confessors,  and  virgins.  But  it  is  on  sward  we 
stand,  riot  on  the  altar  step.  The  high  altar  is  gone 
with  its  cross  and  the  relics  ;  the  organ  is  silent,  gone, 
too ;  the  silver  dove  with  golden  pyx  no  longer  hangs 
there  waiting,  with  the  precious  food  for  those  about  to 
go  on  their  last  long  journey.  All  are  gone  save  some 
walls  in  ruins,  with  the  Abbot's  doorway,  and  save  the 
dead  Abbots  lying  there.  What  a  glorious  chancel  it 
must  have  been — and  now  ! 

I  wonder  if  the  monks  still  come  and  gaze  at  so  much 

I  here  offer  my  grateful  thanks  to  Dr.  de  Gray  Birch 
for  allowing  me  to  draw  so  freely  from  his  valuable  works 
on  Margam ;  to  Mr.  Edward  Roberts,  of  Swansea,  for 
his  aid  in  place-names — in  place-name  researches  he 
is  facile  princeps ;  to  Lieut.-Col.  David,  Maesgwyn  ;  and 
to  Mr.  Lipscomb,  Margam,  for  kind  help. 

NOTE.— Since  I  wrote  Part  I  of  these  Notes,  I  have  discovered  the 
location  of  Terrys  Grange  (see  vol.  lix,  p.  166).  The  buildings  of  the 
Grange  no  longer  exist,  but  its  lands  are  in  Hafod-y-Porth,  on  Mynydd 
Embroch.  Terrys  stands  for  Ty  Rhys.  The  ruins  of  a  small  building 
on  the  lands  of  the  Grange  are  called  Ty  Rhys-yr-allt. 


Part  I,  vol.  lix,  p.  181,  line  9  from  bottom,  for  "  east,"  read  "  west." 
Part  II,  p.   15,  note  2,  line  4,  for  "  There  is,"  read  "There  are." 
P.  16,  note  1,  line  1,  for  "  Carta  Morgian,"  read  "  Carta  Morgani." 

BX  2603  ,P36  1900 

BBP-7199  (MCAB)